How To Improve Heart Health – Live Better For Longer

When we sleep, our brain shuts down the brainstem, sending a signal to the body to temporarily paralyze muscles that move our body, arms, and legs. However, our heart continues to work 24/7 since it’s the most important muscle in the body responsible for pumping blood and oxygen to all the other organs.

How To Improve Heart

When you don’t give your heart the care it deserves, issues can arise, causing serious damage to your body. But, understanding how our heart works and how we can improve the heart’s health can help us diminish or even eliminate all the risks.

What are the leading causes of heart disease?

Let’s first explore the different heart diseases and their causes before we talk about ways you can improve your heart health.

How To Improve Heart Health

1. Cholesterol

One of the leading causes of heart disease is cholesterol. Don’t get us wrong, not all cholesterol is bad, and our bodies still need cholesterol to function properly. Our bodies produce Cholesterol, but we can also get it from food. The waxy substance facilitates digestion and allows the body to create vitamin D as well as other hormones, such as estrogen in women and testosterone in men. 

Bad cholesterol can cause artery-clogging plaque. Meanwhile, good cholesterol helps remove plaque. In other words, good cholesterol helps protect our bodies from getting heart disease, but this doesn’t mean that you should only focus on getting good cholesterol. Having excess bad cholesterol or not getting enough of the good cholesterol can also cause heart disease.

2. Smoking

Smoking is another factor responsible for over 500,000 deaths per year in the United States alone. Chemicals in cigarette smoke can narrow the blood vessels and lead to a plethora of cardiovascular conditions, such as atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.

3. Diabetes

Another reason for heart disease is diabetes. People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease compared to people with no diabetes. This chronic illness damages the blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. 

4. Hypertension

Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is yet another reason for heart disease. This is when the force of the blood against your artery walls is too high. Over time, this increased pressure can weaken and damage your arteries, putting you at a higher risk for heart disease.

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How To Improve Heart Health?

Fortunately, making some lifestyle changes can help reduce your risks of developing any of these heart diseases. Here are some tips on how you can improve your heart health:

1. Exercise

Get regular exercise. Exercise strengthens your heart muscle and helps keep your blood vessels healthy. Exercise lowers blood pressure, helps you reach or maintain a healthy body weight, decreases the risk of developing diabetes, and reduces inflammation in your body.

As we mentioned earlier, cholesterol is one of the leading causes of heart disease, and fortunately, exercise will stimulate enzymes that help move LDL from the blood to the liver, helping you get rid of bad cholesterol. 

Things to improve heart health

Additionally, exercising helps the body pull oxygen out of the blood and consequently reduces the need for the heart to pump to your muscles. It also decreases stress hormones which weigh down on the heart, slow the heart rate, and increase good cholesterol in the body. 

Keep in mind that exercise alone won’t magically fix all heart problems. We also need to combine training with a healthy diet, and this brings us to the second method you can follow to improve your heart health.

2. Diet

Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, and saturated fats.

how to strengthen heart muscle naturally

If you want to improve your heart health, you should try to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Aim for an adequate amount of starchy foods such as rice, potatoes, and pasta, as well as milk and dairy products. Sources of protein such as eggs, beans, fish, and meat are also very important for keeping your muscles functioning properly and improving your heart health. Finally, try to limit foods and drinks that are high in fats, salt, and sugar, and avoid alcohol as much as you can.

The third thing you can do is quit smoking. If you don’t smoke, you’re still at risk of having a heart attack if your partner, family members, or friends are smokers. Second-hand smoke is responsible for 41,000 deaths in the United States alone.

5 powerfull heart health food

3. Body Weight

Lose or gain weight. If you’re underweight or overweight, you’ll have a higher risk of developing heart disease. According to the National Library of Medicine, the underweight population had a 19.7% higher risk of cardiovascular disease than the normal weight. Meanwhile, the overweight population had a 50% and 96% increased risk, respectively. 

Being obese is dangerous to your heart because it can alter your cholesterol levels. Obesity causes a spike in bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels but the danger lies in lowering good high-density lipoproteins or (HDL) cholesterol. HDL cholesterol removes bad cholesterol and works to reduce the risk of heart disease.

Furthermore, being overweight will cause your blood pressure to rise since your body will need more blood to supply oxygen, consequently increasing blood pressure. 

A common side effect of being obese is diabetes. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and heart attacks aren’t the only dangerous thing you may encounter as an obese person. Another medical condition is diabetes. As a matter of fact, diabetes can lead to heart attack, as we mentioned earlier, making the risk of having a cardiovascular disease even higher.

This is why it’s important to know your Body Mass Index or (BMI). You can check whether you’re overweight by inputting your height and weight into a BMI calculator. If you are, don’t worry, there are ways to lose weight in a healthy way that won’t jeopardize yours.

4. Stress Management

Stress can lead to heart disease, and finding ways to manage stress. Such as exercise, relaxation techniques, or talking to a therapist, is critical to improving your heart’s health. 

The Stress is a part of our everyday lives. It can be caused by several factors, and what stresses a person can be non-stressful to another. This is important to keep in mind because fighting stress is all about finding the exact causes and dealing with them. But our jobs and emotional problems aren’t the only cause of stress. It can also come from physical and physiological issues such as lack of sleep or illness.

Ironically, our body’s response to stress is supposed to protect us, but many times, it can be the reason to harm us. Cortisol is the hormone released by our bodies in response to stress.

According to studies, high levels of cortisol caused by long-term stress can result in a buildup of plaque deposits in the arteries and increase triglycerides, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure. All of these are common causes of heart disease.

The most common responses to stress include decreased energy and sleep, aches and pains, anxiety, depression and anger, brain fog and forgetfulness, as well as irritability and impatience.

Now, if you’re wondering how to increase your heart health by diminishing stress, you should first identify the root of the problem. What is stressing you? This might be daunting, but keeping a close eye on stressful situations will help you identify them one by one. 

5. Self Care

Exercising, having enough sleep, changing your lifestyle routine, and tackling problems instantly will also decrease your stress levels, and your heart will thank you for that.

heart in hands

The last method you can follow to improve your heart health is by getting regular checkups. No, not only the check-ups where you go to a doctor; they run a scan and tell you that you’re doing great. Check-ups include watching out for blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and all the other reasons for heart attacks we mentioned above. 

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Tips To Improve Heart Health

Sit Less: Yes, sitting for a prolonged period can wreak havoc on your heart. Walking, moving, and standing can be healthy for your heart compared to sitting for a long time. If your job involves sitting for prolonged periods, think about getting a standing desk, and switching between standing and sitting when working.

Relax More: Even if you’ll only do it for a few minutes every day; relaxing can be extremely beneficial to your heart health. You can also reach out to a friend or loved one when you’re under stress since getting emotional support is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety and stress.

Final Verdict

Finally, setting stress management strategies will help you deal with stress better since you’ll be anticipating stressful situations and fighting them the right way. You can maintain calm during stressful events by exercising deep breathing, repeating a calming saying, or finishing the hard tasks first. 

Taking these steps can dramatically help improve your heart health and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.

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