Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but it’s also one of the most preventable. Half of all Americans have at least one of the three major risk factors of heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Lifestyle changes can dramatically lower the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack and developing other cardiovascular diseases.
Check out these powerful ways to increase your heart health to help combat the risk of developing heart disease.
Like any other muscle in your body, exercise can strengthen your heart and help prevent a heart attack. Strong hearts push out more blood with each beat, allowing them to function more efficiently, which lowers any stress on the heart and its arteries, as well as lowering blood pressure.
Regular cardiovascular exercise increases the blood flow to the small vessels around the heart and prevents fatty deposits from building up and clogging arteries. The American Heart Association recommends thirty minutes of exercise five days a week to keep your heart healthy. And you don’t have to start a daily running habit if you don’t want to—walking is just as beneficial.
It might seem impossible some days, but eliminating stress is also beneficial for heart health. There are thousands of biochemical reactions occurring in our bodies when we’re stressed out—and they can all produce detrimental effects on our health. Meditation, breathing exercises, and counseling are all successful methods you can use to relax.
Eating smaller portions and eliminating snacking are also beneficial for lowering cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease. Blood moves to the digestive tract after eating, which can cause heart palpitations. You can reduce the urge to snack by eating properly balanced meals and drinking plenty of water.
Eating heart-healthy foods can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease. For example, lean meats like turkey and chicken have considerably less fat than red meat; replacing dishes with leaner meats will help to lower your cholesterol. Foods like pecans are heart-healthy as well, thanks to the antioxidants they provide. Chocolate and wine can also be beneficial, but only when eaten in moderation.
These powerful ways to increase your heart health will help you lead a healthier and happier lifestyle!