Prevention is more effective than cure for a lot of ailments and diseases, but with heart health, this is most certainly the case. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide, with approximately 18 million deaths each year. However, the good news is that heart disease is largely preventable through simple lifestyle changes and regular check-ups with your healthcare provider.
Here are some scientifically-backed ways to keep your heart healthy and strong:
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Research shows that a healthy diet can help reduce your risk of heart disease. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that a Mediterranean-style diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease by about 30 percent.
To get the most benefits, aim to incorporate a variety of heart-healthy foods into your diet. This includes:
- Fruits and vegetables: These are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help protect your heart. Aim for at least five servings per day.
- Whole grains: These are high in fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of heart disease. Choose whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereal.
- Lean proteins: Choose lean cuts of meat, such as chicken and fish, and vegetarian sources of protein, such as beans and lentils.
- Healthy fats: Choose monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower your cholesterol levels. Good sources include olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Get regular exercise
Regular exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy heart. Physical activity can help lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol levels, and reduce your risk of heart disease. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming.
In addition to the cardiovascular benefits, exercise can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which is another crucial factor in heart health. A study in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that overweight and obese individuals who lost just 5 to 10 percent of their body weight experienced improvements in several heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
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Chronic stress can have a negative impact on your heart health. High levels of stress can increase your blood pressure and contribute to inflammation, which can damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of heart disease.
To manage stress, try practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. Academic research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has found that yoga can help reduce stress and improve several heart disease risk factors, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Additionally, make sure to take time for yourself and engage in activities that you enjoy. A scientific study, published in the Journal of Health Psychology, found that engaging in leisure activities, such as reading, gardening, or playing music, can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.
Smoking is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Smoking can damage your blood vessels, increase your blood pressure, and raise your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you smoke, quitting is one of the best things you can do for your heart health.
Research shows that quitting smoking can have immediate and long-term benefits for your heart. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that individuals who quit smoking experienced a 36 percent reduction in their risk of heart disease within just two years of quitting.
Get a preventative healthcare check-up
Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help detect and treat heart disease early on, however, there is no better tool at your disposal than preventative consultations. By proactively taking care of your heart health, you can prevent issues arising before they have the chance to, and take the correct steps to maintain and preserve your health.
Book your free initial consultation with a heart health expert today.
At 4ArmedHealth, we believe that prevention is key to maintaining a healthy heart. By making simple lifestyle changes and taking your first step of proactive healthcare, you can take control of your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you stay healthy and strong.