Keeping the heart healthy should be your aim, especially if you have crossed the age of 40. Heart disease has become very common largely due to our unhealthy diets, stressful lifestyles, and insufficient exercise. Here’s how you can keep your heart beating properly without hitting the gym:
Know the Age of Your Heart
Most people have hearts that are older than their actual age, simply because their lifestyle has taken more of a toll on it. You can use the ‘Heart Age’ Calculator developed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to know your heart’s condition. Entering details about your BMI, blood pressure, age, and a few other health indicators will reveal your heart’s age. Discuss with your doctor, how you could take suitable action to improve your heart age.
Stopping smoking is among the most effective actions that you can take to safeguard the health of your heart. Apart from it taking a toll on the heart itself, smoking has many other negative health impacts such as increased risk of lung cancer, stroke, COPD, etc. Try nicotine replacement therapies and join support groups to keep your resolve steady.
Reduce Stress Levels
Try to organize your life by listing what you must do each day of the week and you will soon be able to stay ahead of surprises that cause stress. Engage in activities like yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, prayer, or even go jogging daily and see your stress level dropping fast. Get adequate and superior quality sleep by not drinking tea or coffee late in the evening and by switching off electronic gadgets like the TV, mobile phone, etc. Don’t ignore snoring as this could indicate sleep apnea. You can buy steroids, if your doctor advises, to reduce stress.
Pay More Attention to What You Eat and Drink
Accumulation of cholesterol in coronary arteries is the biggest cause of heart attacks. If you have high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, you should try and adopt a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Eat more vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, etc. and avoid red meat, though you can have chicken. Oily fish is good for your heart due to the higher concentration of Omega-3 acids. Consume foods with more fiber and avoid processed foods. Keep a check on both sugar and salt, and opt for smaller portions. Alcohol in moderation may improve heart health but you should always consult your doctor for contraindications that may increase the risk level of other diseases.
To really get a grip on heart health, you need to make lifestyle changes, pay more attention to your diet, quit smoking and reduce stress. Be alert to the possibility of diabetes as it elevates your risk of cardiac complications. If you are in a pre-diabetic stage, appropriate lifestyle changes may be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of diabetes. If you are confirmed diabetic, you will need to be extra careful about your diet, follow an active lifestyle, and take medications as suggested by your doctor.