You know that exercise and good diet can keep your heart healthy. But what else can you do to keep your heart healthy and strong? Here are five things you need to do every day to help your heart work most efficiently.
1. Eat healthy fats, NOT trans fats
We need fats in our diet, including saturated and polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. One fat we don’t need is trans fat, which is known to increase your risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke over a lifetime. This is because trans fat clogs your arteries by raising your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering your good cholesterol levels (HDL). By cutting them from your diet, you improve the blood flow throughout your body. So, what are trans fats? They are industry-produced fats often used in packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarines and fried fast foods to add flavor and texture.
Lesson: Read the labels on all foods. Trans fat appears on the ingredients list as partially hydrogenated oils. Look for 0 percent trans fat. Make it a point to avoid eating foods with trans fat.
2. Get enough sleep
Sleep is an essential part of keeping your heart healthy. If you don’t sleep enough, you may be at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease no matter your age or other health habits. Study has shown that about 3,000 adults over the age of 45 who slept fewer than six hours per night are as likely to have stroke or heart attack. Researchers believe sleeping too little causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes, including blood pressure and inflammation.
Lesson: Make sleep a part of your priority. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep most nights. If you have sleeping problem, you should meet your doctor for treated as this condition is cause you heart disease and arrhythmias.
3. Don’t sit for too long at one time
According to research staying seated for long periods of time is bad for your health no matter how much exercise you do. This is bad news for the many people who sit at sedentary jobs all day. When looking at the combined results of several observational studies that included nearly 800,000 people, researchers found that in those who sat the most, there was an associated 147 percent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 percent increase in death caused by these events.
Lesson: research has shown that sitting for long periods of time (especially when traveling) increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot).
4. Practice good dental hygiene, especially flossing your teeth daily
Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart, because those who have periodontal (gum) disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Studies continue on this issue, but many have shown that bacteria in the mouth involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. These changes may in turn, increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Lesson: Floss and brush your teeth daily to ward off gum disease. It’s more than cavities you may have to deal with if you are fighting gum disease
5. Avoid secondhand smoke like the plague
Studies have shown that the risk of developing heart disease is about 25 to 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work. According to the American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to about 34,000 premature heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths each year. And nonsmokers who have high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol have an even greater risk of developing heart disease when they’re exposed to secondhand smoke. This is because the chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries.
Lesson: Be firm with smokers that you do not want to be around environmental smoke—and keep children away from secondhand smoke.