According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women.
In fact, one in every four deaths is caused by heart disease. That's 610,000 people every year.
Now, more people are learning how to strike back against heart disease to live happier, healthier lives.
Here are seven ways you can keep your heart healthy and prevent heart disease. With these heart-healthy habits, you can extend your life and keep your heart beating strong!
1. Get Moving
Let's get moving into action—literally. An active lifestyle and regular workout regimen can improve your overall health.
Physical activity also reduces the risk of diabetes, stroke, and of course, heart disease.
Don't worry about getting an expensive gym membership. Instead, shoot for the doctor-recommended 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day.
Try taking a walk five times a week. You can also add strength and resistance training, and/or yoga to your routine. Yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety, which will also benefit your heart health.
Make sure to get enough sleep, too! Our bodies need time to recharge and heal after a busy day.
If you're not getting enough sleep, you could also experience underlying health conditions such as inflammation and high blood pressure.
These can contribute to deteriorating heart health.
If you can't fit a workout in, stand up! According to research, prolonged sedentary time (that includes sitting around at a desk all day) can contribute to deteriorating health.
Switch to a standing desk or do a few squats between tasks.
That way, you can keep healthy and get that heart pumping!
2. Cholesterol Control
Keep those arteries blockage-free! Too much "bad" cholesterol (also known as LDL), can clog your arteries. This causes plaque to form within your veins, which leads to heart disease and stroke.
To control your cholesterol, take a look at what you're eating. Animal products full of saturated fats can clog your arteries. These include beef, butter, cream, and pork.
Instead, switch to foods that can lower your cholesterol, such as:
• Albacore tuna
• Multi-grain bran and oats
You can also control your cholesterol by exercising (review tip number one if you skipped it!). Check out this old-school remedy for better heart health.
3. Eat Right
We've mentioned a few foods to eat and avoid to improve your cholesterol. Changing your diet can also keep your heart healthy and improve your overall health.
Try adding healthy fats to your diet. These include fats found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados. However, trans fats can contribute to the risk of heart disease, so cut those out.
This will improve blood flow throughout your body and help keep that blood pumping!
Keep a balanced, nutrient-rich diet. To get the nutrients you need, aim for leafy greens and high-fiber fruits. Berries are also loaded with antioxidants to help balance the free radicals in your body.
Reduce your intake of unnecessary sugars, trans fats, and sodium. It also helps to plan your meals in advance.
That way, you can eat healthier and develop heart-healthy habits.
Discover a ton of healthy recipes you can try for yourself!
4. Shed Those Extra Pounds
Too much visceral fat (fat that's stored around important organs like the liver and intestines) can cause numerous health risks.
Weight around the waist can also contribute to high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
By shedding those extra pounds, however, you can keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk for heart disease.
Try eating fewer calories each day and exercising more often. To determine whether or not you should lose weight, calculate your body mass index (BMI). As a result, you can maintain a healthy weight and keep fat away from your heart.
5. Watch That Blood Pressure
According to research, patients with diabetes are at risk for heart disease or stroke. One of the contributing risk factors is high blood pressure, in addition to high cholesterol.
Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure can put a strain on your kidneys, arteries, and you guessed it, your heart.
This can put you at risk for stroke, heart disease, and other major issues.
If you self-measure your blood pressure, you shouldn't be more than 120 for the top number and 80 for the bottom number.
To keep your heart healthy and maintain proper blood pressure, change your diet. Reduce sodium and saturated fats.
You should also limit unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking.
Exercise and doctor-recommended medication can also help you manage your blood pressure levels.
6. Sort Out Your Blood Sugar
Also known as glucose, blood sugar provides our body with the energy we need to get through the day.
A high blood sugar level, however, can point to diabetes, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
To keep your heart healthy, cut out those added sugars. That means saying goodbye to desserts, candies, and sugary beverages.
Instead of raiding the fridge, head outside. Regular physical activity can reduce heightened blood sugar levels.
Your blood sugar level, when fasting, should be below 100.
Visit your doctor to discuss whether or not you need medication or insulin to control your blood sugar levels.
7. Just Quit It
Unhealthy habits such as smoking can also impact your heart health. To lower the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots, set down the cigarettes.
Smoking can reduce the "good" cholesterol in the body and increase the risk of cancer. Diminished lung capacity can also make it more difficult for you to work out.
Even secondhand smoke can put people at risk of heart disease.
Just quit. Instead of smoking, focus on these heart-healthy habits instead.
(Heart) Beat That: 7 Steps to Heart Healthy Happiness
Keep that heart healthy! With these seven steps, you can extend your lifespan and cut out unnecessary health risks.
Discover more tips for a happier, healthier life by exploring this section of our blog.