Your heart works nonstop and taking care of it is essential. You are never too young or too old to take care of your heart. Making the right choices and few changes in your lifestyle will go a long way in keeping your heart healthy and your life happier. Some of the essential tips you need to know are given below.
The right amount of sleep is essential for a healthy heart. Studies have shown that 7-8 hours sleep is ideal. Those who slept 7 hours had fewer calcium deposits in their artery than those who slept 5 hours or less or 9 hours or more. The quality of sleep is also important. Adults with good quality sleep had healthier arteries. In case of sleep-related problems, it is best to consult your doctor.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle is bad for the heart. Even for people who exercise regularly sitting for long periods must be avoided. If your job requires sitting for long hours then break up periods of sitting. Develop a habit of walking when on the telephone. Stand and walk a bit when watching television or continue working on your computer. Park your car a little distance away from your office. Use stairs if possible.
Quit eating Trans fats and reduce saturated fats
Trans fats clog your arteries and increase bad cholesterol level. The blood flow in your body improves by cutting intake of Trans fats. Trans fats are used in packaged baked products, fried fast foods, snack foods and margarine. They appear on the ingredient list as partially hydrogenated oils. Cut down on saturated fats found in meat and full-fat dairy products. Choose the lean cut and reduced fat options.
A healthy diet with lots of fiber and lesser processed foods helps in keeping the system clean. This helps the heart to perform well. Maintain the correct weight and consult a doctor if you have weight problems.
Avoid secondhand smoking
If smoking, quit (both real and electronic) immediately. Avoid secondhand smoking. This is more important if you have high cholesterol or blood pressure. Chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote plaque buildup in arteries.
Check for Diabetes
Diabetes is a silent killer and most people are unaware when they have it. A regular blood sugar test must be done if you are older than 45, pregnant or overweight. High blood sugar damages arteries and increases the risk of heart disease. In case of diabetes proper medication and prescribed diet must be followed.
Monitor your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can damage artery walls making it harder for blood and oxygen to flow to and from the heart. The heart has to exert greater pressure and it gets worn out faster. Blood pressure must be checked every 3-5 years if you are 18-39 and every year if you are over 40. In case of high blood pressure, a proper diet of fruits and vegetables, lesser salt, and alcohol intake together with regular exercise and stress management help. However, medication may also be prescribed if needed.
Maintain a positive attitude
Have a positive outlook and do activities you love. Learn to manage stress in a healthy way through yoga, meditation or exercise. Have a healthy social life and talk to a counselor if you feel depressed. People with depression have a greater risk of heart disease. These steps are simple and with time they will become part of your lifestyle. Enjoy a long and healthy life.