So often you focus on specifically doing things that are good for you, you forget to pay attention to the things you shouldn’t be doing, and among these are some bad habits that could damage your heart. You might think you have a healthy lifestyle, but with cardiovascular disease killing 1 in 3 people in the US, you need to be aware of the bad habits that could damage your heart and make some lifestyle changes for the better.
1. Eating Too Much
It won’t come as any surprise that among the very worst of the bad habits that could damage your heart is overeating. It’s estimated that 64% of women in the United States are overweight, with a significant portion of those being classified as obese. Doctors suggest limiting carbohydrate portions such as pasta and bread, as well as trying to replace sugary sodas with carbonated or mineral water. AWS is full of masses of articles on healthy eating and weight management, so you just need to find an eating regime that works best for you that still allows you treats without overindulging.
2. Consuming Too Much Alcohol
While it’s true that we’re always receiving contradictory advice on whether or not alcohol is good for our health, the general consensus is that too much alcohol on a regular basis is bad for your heart. High blood pressure, increased blood fat and eventual heart failure are all symptoms of consuming too much alcohol, not to mention the additional calories which you consume. If you want to help your heart remain healthy, limit your alcohol intake.
3. Too Much Exercise, Too Infrequently
You’re probably wondering how exercise can possibly be among the bad habits that might damage your heart. It’s not exercise per se, but more that infrequent exercise is bad for your health. A lot of people will only exercise a few times a month, and when they do, they will go all-out. This, according to researchers, is bad for your heart – making it work at a pace it is not used to from cold – i.e. you are punishing your heart rather than assisting it. Instead you should exercise every couple of days, so that the strain on your heart is reduced over time.
4. Too Much Salt
Salt certainly makes food taste good, but it doesn’t do any good for your health. More salt equals higher blood pressure. Higher blood pressure can increase your risk of having a stroke, contracting heart disease or having a heart attack. If you want to look after your heart, make sure that you limit your salt intake.
5. Neglecting Your Fruits and Veg
Food is such an integral factor in the ways to maintain a healthy heart. A really bad habit is not eating enough fruit and veg in your diet. It’s so easy to get fruits into your daily routine without even having to think about it: you could have some frozen berries in your porridge or cereal, or a smoothie for lunch rather than a sandwich. If you have pasta, make sure that you replace some of the ground beef with kidney beans. These sorts of changes will significantly improve your health.
6. Watching Too Much TV
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the most common bad habits that can damage your heart is sitting for hours on end watching TV. While we all know that sitting around doing nothing is bad for your health, new research from New York University has found that even those who exercise on a regular basis as well as watching TV have more heart attacks than those who do not sit around watching TV. The advice which was given by the doctors at NYU was to walk around periodically when watching TV, or when sitting at a computer desk for hours on end.
7. Not Using Floss
I bet you never imagined that a thing such as not flossing could be one of the everyday things that damage your heart. We aren’t too sure why, but scientists have found a strong correlation between a lack of flossing and heart disease. One of the theories about the reason for the link is that the bacteria which builds up in the gums can lead to gum disease, which can then spread to other parts of the body. Daily flossing is recommended if you want to keep your heart as healthy as possible.
8. Not Going to See the Doctor
Too many women nowadays lead such busy lives that they neglect regular check-ups with their doctor. You should always know what your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure levels are, so that you can make the necessary changes to your lifestyle and diet. Just because you’re not yet 30 doesn’t mean that you are healthy!
9. Being around Smoke
Possibly the worst of bad habits which damage your heart is smoking. You might associate smoking with lung damage, especially lung cancer, but smoking also increases your risk of blood clots and plaque in your arteries. Also remember that this is about being exposed to smoke, not just being a smoker yourself – if your roommate smokes, for example, you are just as much at risk as they are if they smoke around you. Figures show that almost 50,000 cases of heart disease diagnosed each year are from second-hand smoke inhalation.
Your heart is so precious. There are so many factors that can affect its health, even things like snoring, stress, erratic lifestyles and depression can work their toll. Do not assume you are not at risk. Know the bad habits that could damage your heart and avoid them – or make the changes you need to. How do you keep your heart healthy?