If you have taken good care of your heart when you were younger, your heart is probably in good shape now. However, even if you were a little careless about your heart health in your youth, you certainly can, and should, start now. It’s never too late to start.
If you have heart-healthy habits, you will improve the quality of your life and live longer. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Most of these deaths are seniors over the age of 65. This may sound alarming; however, heart disease can mostly be prevented. Despite your years, you can get started in making this muscle a strong one! Here are some tips to help you get started.
Exercise Every Single Day
Regular exercise helps you to stay active, keeps you physically fit and makes your heart stronger. It is recommended that you exercise 30 minutes every day.
You don’t need to sign up for a gym membership as there are plenty of heart-healthy exercises you can do either in the comfort of your own home, or in your street. Taking a simple walk is one of the best exercises you can do for your heart health. Here are the benefits of taking a walk.
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Increases cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness
- Improves other medical conditions that might lead to a heart attack, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and diabetes.
You can also start a ‘physical activity hobby’ such as dancing. If you are having fun, you are also reducing your stress levels. Doing so will also help lower your resting heart rate and blood pressure levels.
Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
Your diet has a direct impact on your heart health. Eating the right foods can help prevent heart attack and other heart diseases.
Eat food rich in antioxidants and enzymes that protect the cells from damage brought about by free radicals. Examples of antioxidants are beta carotene, lycopene, or anthocyanin. One of the most powerful is hydroxytyrosol which is found in olive oil.
To boost your antioxidant intake, types of food to eat include olives, berries, avocado, beets, red cabbage, tomatoes, and green leafy vegetables.
Omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for heart health. They help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Omega 3-rich foods include fatty fish such as salmon and sardines. You can also get omega 3 from chia seeds, and some nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, macadamia nuts, and hazelnuts.
Whole oats have a high amount of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol. They are also rich in antioxidants including avenanthramides that may lower blood pressure levels. Avenanthramides increase the production of nitric oxide, a molecule that helps dilate blood vessels and facilitate better blood flow and circulation.
You may have experienced feelings of depression, loneliness, stress, anxiety or hopelessness which are all risk factors for coronary heart disease and stroke. Therefore, it’s important to socialize and connect with people. You can socialize by joining community groups or charities, or simply spend more time with friends and family. Just don’t become isolated. Social connections alleviate negative feelings and reduce the risk of heart disease and hypertension. A happy you makes a healthy heart.