How to Create a Heart-Healthy Lifestyle

February is American Heart Month. Cardiovascular diseases remain the leading cause of death in the world. More than 600,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at least 200,000 of these deaths are preventable. Here are some tips to help you beat the odds. First, if you smoke, quit. According to the National Institutes for Health, doing so may reduce your risk by 50 percent. Here are a few more way to help you reduce the risk:
When it comes to the heart, exercise helps in a number of ways: it strengthens the heart, making it easier to pump blood through the body with less strain. It also help maintain a healthy weight. This is important because obesity is one of the risk factors for heart disease. Exercise can also reduce cholesterol, another risk factor. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.
Pay attention to nutrition
A healthy diet can go a long way in reducing your risk for heart disease. According to a study conducted by the American College of Cardiology, people who followed the Mediterranean diet were 47 percent less likely to develop heart disease. A Mediterranean diet focuses on eating a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fish and seafood instead of red and processed meats. This healthy diet also calls for using healthy fats like olive oil and herbs and spices instead of salt.
Get more sleep
Sleep deprivation can increase your risk of heart disease in a number of ways. First, it can lead to weight gain. A lack of sleep can hinder the ability of the frontal lobe of your brain – which governs decision-making and impulse control – to perform at its best. Additionally, when you’re tired, the brain starts seeking out something to make it feel better, making it harder to resist food cravings. Also, South Korean study discovered that adults who sleep five or fewer hours a day have 50 percent more calcium in their coronary arteries than those who slept seven hours day. Calcium buildup is a warning sign for potential heart disease.
Reduce your stress
According to Harvard Health Publications, constant stress can increase risk factors such as high blood pressure and the formation of arterial plaque that can force the heart to work harder to pump blood throughout the body. Stress can also lead to overeating, smoking and other habits that increase your risk factors.
Keep a positive attitude
As we discussed in this post, a positive attitude can go a long way in helping may aspects of health and well-being, including heart health. The Harvard School of Public Health conducted an exhaustive review of numerous studies on the association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular health. They discovered that people who express optimism and are generally exude positive psychological well-being have a reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition to helping your heart, according to the Mayo Clinic, a positive attitude can also increase your lifespan, decease depression and increase your psychological and physical well-being.

Categories: Healthcare

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