07 Mar 27 Protips for a Healthy Heart, Part Two
Should be obvious to you already, but the health of your heart is of the utmost importance.
In the United States, it’s apparent that too few of us take our ticker seriously. But not us!
So let’s get your heart feeling strong and healthy. Here’s Part 2 of 2 in our mini-series Protips for a Healthy Heart.
Walk it off
The next time you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, or angry, take a stroll. Even a five-minute walk can help clear your head and lower your stress levels, which is good for your health. Taking a half-hour walk every day is even better for your physical and mental health.
Brush your teeth regularly
Good oral hygiene does more than keep your teeth white and glistening. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some research suggests that the bacteria that cause gum disease can also raise your risk of heart disease. While the research findings have been mixed, there’s no downside to taking good care of your teeth and gums.
Cut the fat
Slicing your saturated fat intake to no more than 7 percent of your daily calories can cut your risk of heart disease, advises the USDA. If you don’t normally read nutrition labels, considering starting today. Take stock of what you’re eating and avoid foods that are high in saturated fat.
Take the scenic route home
Put down your cell phone, forget about the driver who cut you off, and enjoy your ride. Eliminating stress while driving can help lower your blood pressure and stress levels. That’s something your cardiovascular system will appreciate.
Make time for breakfast
The first meal of the day is an important one. Eating a nutritious breakfast every day can help you maintain a healthy diet and weight. To build a heart-healthy meal, reach for:
- whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, or whole-wheat toast
- lean protein sources, such as turkey bacon or a small serving of nuts or peanut butter
- low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese
- fruits and vegetables
Take the stairs
Exercise is essential for good heart health, so why not sneak it in at every opportunity? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park on the far side of the parking lot. Walk to a colleague’s desk to talk, instead of emailing them. Play with your dog or kids at the park, instead of just watching them. Every little bit adds up to better fitness.
Brew up a heart-healthy potion
No magic is needed to brew up a cup of green or black tea. Drinking one to three cups of tea per day may help lower your risk of heart problems, reports the AHA. For example, it’s linked to lower rates of angina and heart attacks.
Know your numbers
Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in check is important for good heart health. Learn the optimal levels for your sex and age group. Take steps to reach and maintain those levels. And remember to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. If you want to make your doctor happy, keep good records of your vitals or lab numbers, and bring them to your appointments.
Dark chocolate not only tastes delicious, it also contains heart-healthy flavonoids. These compounds help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease, suggest scientists in the journal Nutrients. Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate — not oversweetened milk chocolate — can actually be good for you. The next time you want to indulge your sweet tooth, sink it into a square or two of dark chocolate. No guilt required.
Kick your housework up a notch
Vacuuming or mopping the floors may not be as invigorating as a Body Slam or Zumba class. But these activities and other household chores do get you moving. They can give your heart a little workout, while burning calories too. Put your favorite music on and add some pep to your step while you complete your weekly chores.
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other tree nuts deliver a powerful punch of heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Including them in your diet can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Remember to keep the serving size small, suggests the AHA. While nuts are full of healthy stuff, they’re also high in calories.
Be a kid
Fitness doesn’t have to be boring. Let your inner child take the lead by enjoying an evening of roller skating, bowling, or laser tag. You can have fun while burning calories and giving your heart a workout.
Consider pet therapy
Our pets offer more than good company and unconditional love. They also provide numerous health benefits. Studies reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that owning a pet may help improve your heart and lung function. It may also help lower your chances of dying from heart disease.
This article was brought to you by the Proactive Health Management Plan in partnership with Healthline.
Carolyn KlavekoskePosted at 20:10h, 20 March