There’s a very compelling reason that you need to know ways to take care of your heart: heart disease is a major killer of women. In fact, according to many authoritative sources, heart disease kills more women than all forms of cancer combined. Knowing this means you should be receptive to ways to take care of your heart and follow them.
1. Eat Healthily
Let’s face it – staying healthily is not just about sticking to a strict regimen, being stick thin and depriving yourself of foods that you love. There are ways to take care of your heart that are about keeping your body in a healthy condition and eating sensibly. Eat a diet consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables, and whole grains. Know which fats are healthy and which are not. For example, healthy fats are the ones found in olive oil, nuts and salmon while saturated fats are a no-no. Stay clear of fast food outlets, as often these foods are high in saturated fats and a cause of clogged arteries. Be aware of your eating habits, plan menus and eat in moderation. Following this advice, there is no reason why you should not treat yourself every so often to a small piece of your favorite food.
2. Blood Pressure
As you get older, it’s important to check your blood pressure periodically. High blood pressure can cause serious or fatal heart attacks and strokes. It’s imperative this is monitored, especially if high blood pressure tends to run in the family. Minimizing these risk factors by keeping your blood pressure in check will help keep your heart healthy.
Again, as with your blood pressure, it’s important to monitor your cholesterol levels every few years. High cholesterol levels can mean your arteries are beginning to clog, another cause of heart attacks or other heart disease. A simple test is all that is required and the results can tell you whether you need to make some adjustment to the ways you keep your heart healthy.
For decades it’s been proven that smoking not only causes cancer, emphysema and strokes, but it's also a major factor of cardio-vascular health. This is one of the most obvious things to do to keep your heart healthy! Quit smoking and avoid these awful consequences – not only will you become a healthier person, but see how much money you save instead of it going up in smoke.
Drinking alcohol in excess is certainly among the top things that are not good for your heart. Excessive alcohol can cause your blood pressure to rise. Drinking in moderation means sticking to the recommended alcohol units per week. Don’t take the attitude that if you can drink more than the recommended and don’t feel drunk, it is ok to drink more. The issue of excess alcohol is not about drunkenness but about what alcohol does to your body. The recommendation for women is no more than 2-3 units a day.
Watch your weight! Sensible weight management is one of the most important ways to take care of your heart and also has benefits for your entire body and well being. The excess weight your body carries around causes a massive strain on your heart and therefore it’s important to lose as many of those extra pounds as possible. Just losing 5-10% of your body weight slowly by dieting and exercise is enough to improve your health.
Regular exercise is important for so many reasons, and not just as one of the things you should be doing to keep your heart healthy. Allergic to workouts? Then try brisk walks in a park. Go with a friend or even your dog – he will be more than happy to keep you company and exercise is good for your pooch’s heart too. Take up swimming or cycling – any exercise is good.
They say laughing is the best medicine and it seems there is some truth in this, as according to studies performed by the University of Maryland Medical Center, cardiologists there have found that laughing may actually lessen the risk of heart disease. Laughing reduces levels of stress, resulting in a more relaxed state. Plus, you normally feel good when you’re laughing so having excuses to laugh more often is only a good thing.
When you are under stress, all sorts of chemical reactions and tensions are happening all over your body. And, the problem is that stress can be all-consuming mentally so you aren’t able to focus on what it might be doing to you physically. One of the easier said than done ways to keep your heart healthy is to avoid stress. Find ways to relax more or find ways to temper the stress.
So, these ways to keep your heart healthy aren’t rocket science, and they certainly aren’t new or ground-breaking, but that doesn’t make them any less noteworthy. You only have one heart (unless you’re Dr. Who!), so you owe it to yourself and it to look after it. How do you keep your heart healthy?