9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

heart cutting board with fruit and exercise accessories

Put your heart in the right place. 

Every 36 seconds, someone dies in the United States from heart disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women within the United States. Yet most of those deaths could have been prevented. 

People are aware of what they have to do to improve heart health. But they don't take the necessary steps. They view them as too complicated, and they put them off until it is too late. 

You can improve your heart health today. Here are nine simple heart health tips. 

1. Eat a Balanced Diet

Most of your daily calories should come from fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and lean proteins.  These foods will give your body the right nutrients to maintain good health and reduce your risk of heart disease.  Avoid highly processed foods and foods with little nutrition like cookies, cakes, drinks with added sugars and fried foods.

Keep a food journal to be mindful of your caloric intake.  While nuts are good for you, they are high in calories. Portion control is important. Review your food journal weekly and make changes to your diet if necessary.

You can incorporate your favorite guilty pleasures, as long as you limit your portions. Don't eat a cookie or slice of cake that is bigger than your fist. Drink a glass of water first to limit your stomach capacity. 

2. Exercise Regularly

One of the most heart-healthy exercises you can do is walking. Walking can lower your blood pressure, help you lose weight and reduce stress.  All of these things are good for your heart. Try to walk for thirty minutes every day.  

If you want to jog, integrate jogs into your walks. Warm-up with a stretch and walk, then start jogging. 

Weightlifting also promotes heart health. Lifting weights for as little as one hour a week has been shown to reduce your chance of a heart attack or stroke.

Whether you enjoy walking, biking, swimming, or yoga, doing different types of exercise not only keeps you heart healthy, it can also help keep you savings account healthy thanks to fewer trips to the doctors office, fewer prescriptions, and more affordable life insurance premiums.

3. Quit Smoking 

Nearly one-third of deaths from coronary heart disease are attributable to smoking. Smoking fills the blood with toxic chemicals while stressing the lungs. The heart overworks itself, triggering a heart attack. 

Quit smoking right away. Switch to nicotine patches and talk to a therapist. They can work with you on resolving the triggers that lead you to smoke. 

4. Get a Good Night's Sleep

People who sleep less than six hours every night have a 20 percent higher risk of a heart attack. Blood pressure drops during sleep, reducing stress to the heart. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. 

Remove televisions, computers, and radios from your room. If you have a pet that sleeps with you, try to move your pet outside your room. Hang up thick black curtains to block light from entering your room.

Plan a sleep schedule. Set a fixed time to go to sleep and wake up. This will help you sleep better at night.

Do not drink caffeine for at least two hours before going to bed. Avoid electronic screens and blue lights for at least one hour. Read, pray, or meditate to encourage your mind to sleep. 

If you wake up in the middle of the night, don't lie in your bed. Get up and do something relaxing, like reading. If you wake up from nightmare, calm your mind with visualization and deep breathing techniques.

5. Drink in Moderation

Drinking alcohol can help your heart. Red wine contains antioxidants that can reduce the risk of heart disease. Some studies have shown that people who drink alcohol once a day have lower rates of heart disease than non-drinkers. 

However, heavy drinking does cause heart attacks. Alcohol can raise bad cholesterol while lowering good cholesterol and that can lead to heart disease. 

6. Be Mindful

Stress can trigger unhealthy habits like smoking and eating fatty foods. Stress can also keep you from being able to sleep. Practice mindfulness whenever possible. 

Perform deep breathing exercises that keep your mind off of stressful things. Write down your thoughts in a journal, or use storytelling to process difficult memories. 

Laughter is also a terrific stress reliever.  Whether its telling jokes to your friends and family, or watching funny movies, make sure you find those opportunities to laugh.

7. Have a Yearly Checkup With Your Doctor

Schedule appointments with your doctor every year. Monitor your blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels. You can have heart disease even if you're young. 

Tell your doctor about what you're doing to promote your heart health. Ask for suggestions, and put them into practice. Take notes on what they tell you and what your numbers are. 

8. Learn About Your Family History

People with a family history of heart disease are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke than someone with no history. It may be hard to ask your family about how loved ones died but, your health depends on it.

9. Understand the Signs of a Heart Attack

Every heart attack is different. But there are some common signs for most heart attacks. 

The most common symptom is chest discomfort. It occurs in the center or left side of the chest. Discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, or pain. 

Discomfort can occur in other parts of the body. Pain sometimes radiates from the chest into the arm. Pain can occur in the back, jaw, or stomach. 

Many people suffer from shortness of breath. They break out into a sweat, or they suffer from nausea. Women are more likely to experience these symptoms than men. 

The Nine Ways to Improve Your Heart Health

Get to the heart of the matter. If you want to live a long life, you need to preserve your heart health. But that doesn't have to be difficult. 

Eat a balanced diet and exercise every day. Quit smoking, get a full night's sleep and drink in moderation. Develop mindfulness and provide yourself with opportunities to laugh.  

While working to protect your heart, don’t forget to financially protect yourself and your family with life insurance. Vantis Life has more than 75 years of experience in providing premium life insurance. Get a free quote today

 

Our content is created for educational purposes only. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Vantis Life encourages individuals to seek advice from their own investment or tax advisor or legal counsel.