Your heart is one of the main organs that provide vital functions of your whole body, so please don’t be heartless to your heart. It is very important to acquire a few healthy habits in order to avoid chest pain and long conversations with your cardiologist.
1. Get plenty of sleep
It is essential for heart health. Lack of sleep provokes various negative biochemical and hormonal consequences – the blood pressure goes up, the digestive system stops working efficiently and the heart starts experiencing extra load. Chronic lack of sleep increases blood cholesterol levels and reduces the body’s glucose tolerance.
2. Take care of your gums
The teeth and gum health have a direct correlation with the health of the heart. Researchers believe that gum conditions affect cardiovascular health. It turns out that brushing your teeth for 2 minutes two times per day and regular use of dental floss reduce the chances of developing myocardial infarction and chronic heart pathologies.
Studies have shown that the bacteria causing gum inflammation are often found in atherosclerotic plaques, destabilization of which might provoke a heart attack.
3. Lower your stress level
During psycho-emotional stress, the body begins producing stress hormones that help to recollect oneself and start acting efficiently. However, if this nature-given mechanism is used too often and, more importantly, the stress is not released, it can provoke various cardiovascular problems. Thus, too high-stress levels at a young age lead to hypertension and at the age of 35-40 years, they cause heart attacks and strokes.
To control your stress levels you need to understand your stress triggers and learn how to cope with stressful situations; various relaxation techniques and meditation might be helpful.
4. Be active
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the main factors contributing to the increasing incidence of coronary heart disease in the population. Researchers claim that low physical activity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by 2.5 times. At the same time, studies conducted at Harvard University have found that 30-minute moderate physical activity performed 5-6 times a week reduces the mortality from cardiovascular disease by 20-30%.
It’s believed that sitting for too long causes decrease in the production of the lipoprotein lipase enzyme responsible for the transformation of “bad” cholesterol into “good” one.
Moderate exercise reduces blood cholesterol, normalizes blood pressure and prevents blood clots. Walk regularly – fresh air and physical activity will help you stay fit and healthy. If you have to sit long hours at work, use any opportunity to stand up – stand while you are making calls, move during the breaks, etc.
5. Quit smoking
It is a known fact that smoking is harmful and even secondhand smoke can increase the risks for diabetes, hypertension, stroke and coronary heart disease. Smoking hardens the arteries and damages the circulatory system as well as reduces lung function.
6. Eat healthy food
Eating certain foods can either decrease or increase your risks for cardiovascular disease. Your heart will be grateful to you if you enrich your diet with fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and fish. It is also better to minimize your consumption of fatty meat, snacks, packaged pastry, margarine and fast food.
Say No! to sweetened drinks as they contain too much sugar and are dangerous for your heart as well.
7. Get regular check-ups
High blood pressure and blood cholesterol can provoke serious cardiovascular complications. Starting at age 20, the AHA recommends a blood pressure screening at your regular healthcare visit or once every 2 years, if your blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
Remember to check your blood sugar levels regularly to rule out diabetes. This disease is risky as over time it damages the arteries and increases the risk for heart disease.