8 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
8 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Thump, thump. Thump, thump. Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day, pumping blood and oxygen to support your brain and body.
But what if your heart isn’t healthy? You might not even know it...at least at first. It’s why some people can suddenly have a heart attack, without any obvious warning signs.
And it happens a lot. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. About 1 in 3 people have high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease. Plus, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
But guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way. Heart disease can be reversed and prevented with smart lifestyle habits and Low-Sodium diet. Here are 8 ways to keep your heart healthy:
1. Eat fiber-rich foods
Foods high in fiber help lower cholesterol. It’s a fatty substance that can build up on artery walls, making it harder for your heart to pump blood. Want to keep your cholesterol in check? Eat more fiber-rich foods like
- Whole grains
- Brown rice
- Fruits and vegetables
2. Maintain a healthy weight
Or lose weight if you need to. About 72 percent of adults are overweight or obese. That’s a risk factor for heart disease. If you need to lose a few pounds, keep it simple and make small changes to your diet and exercise habits.. Losing 1 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy-weight loss goal.
3. Exercise 30-60 minutes a day
Ever get winded walking up a flight of stairs, start breathing heavy, and think “Oh, wow, I’m out of shape?”
Strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles with a little more exercise. You don’t have to run a marathon, but 30 to 60 minutes a day of exercise will make a difference. Pick an activity you enjoy, and make exercise part of your daily routine.
4. Set a daily steps goal
Here’s a great way to stay motivated to be active...set a daily steps goal. Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day.
Use a tracking device like a pedometer, smartphone, smartwatch, or fitness tracking device, to help you keep track.
5. Read food labels
You might not even notice, but most people eat too much sodium. The average adult consumes 3,500mg of sodium per day, often found in processed meats, fried foods, restaurant meals, sauces, and other foods.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends eating less than 2,300mg of sodium per day to protect your heart and prevent high blood pressure.
Read food labels and pay attention to how much sodium you’re consuming.
6. Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night
Did you know lack of sleep increases your risk for heart disease? It’s also linked to high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. If you’re not getting enough sleep, make a plan to get to bed earlier and create a sleeping environment that helps you get to sleep and sleep soundly.
7. Be optimistic
Really? What does a positive attitude have to do with heart health? More than you might think, according to a recent study at Harvard University. Researchers found that optimistic people have a 50 percent lower risk for a heart attack than pessimistic people. Look on the bright side and practice healthy lifestyle habits.
8. Don’t smoke
Or quit if you do. And avoid secondhand smoke. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, and other health problems. If you smoke, quit. Research shows quitting cuts your risk for heart disease in half.