Take Care of Your Heart, Right Now
In honor of World Heart Day, we’d like to talk about the very thing that keeps you alive. Your heart is the most important part of your body – but do you treat it accordingly? This might sound odd, but think about it! You take care of your skin, your eyes, your physical appearance…so why not your heart?
You probably aren’t worried about heart problems right now. You’re young and healthy. But that’s exactly why you should be paying attention. If you are proactive now, you will be healthier later. And you’ll live longer – research proves it. According to the CDC, 200,000 deaths caused by heart disease could be prevented. More than half of those deaths involve people under the age of 65.
No matter what age you are, it’s time to take care of your heart. Here are three factors that you can monitor to keep your heart healthy and pumping, right now.
We’re not asking a lot here! Just try to exercise for at least 30 minutes, a few times a week. Aerobic exercise is best: go for a brisk walk, jog, swim or bicycle ride! This physical activity helps lowers your heart rate and blood pressure – two very important numbers when it comes to heart health. It also helps maintain your weight and reduces your risk for diabetes.
Here’s the science behind it: exercising improves your muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the blood circulating throughout your body. Because your muscles are working well, your heart can work less. It doesn’t have to pump as hard to get blood to all your muscles.
Good news: having a drink on Friday night isn’t killing you. However – as with most things in life – moderation is best. That means one drink a day for women and one or two a day for men. One drink is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor. And keep in mind: excessive drinking has actually been linked to heart problems; it can can cause cardiomyopathy, high blood pressure, heart failure, or stroke.
Fun fact: Red wine is proven to be one of the best alcoholic drinks for your heart. The antioxidants in red wine protect the blood vessel linings in your heart, which helps prevent heart attacks. Red wine also helps improve HDL cholesterol, which is your good cholesterol!
The foods you eat affect your weight and your body’s vital statistics – mainly your cholesterol. The higher your LDL cholesterol, the higher your chances for heart disease. LDL cholesterol is a fat-like substance that causes a buildup in the walls of your arteries. This buildup can start to harden your arteries, causing them to narrow. As a result, blood can’t flow as easily to your heart, which is a big problem and one of the major causes of heart attacks.
So here’s the point: eat foods that are good for your cholesterol! Focus on whole foods: fish, nuts, berries, flaxseeds, oatmeal, dark beans, spinach, asparagus, tomatoes, dark chocolate, broccoli, and red, orange, and yellow vegetables. (That’s quite a list, so you have lots of options!)
We definitely aren’t trying to cure heart disease, and we know there’s no way to completely avoid heart problems. However, these are proven factors of heart disease, and you can control them! So keep your heart on your mind, and take care of your current and future self.
For more health tips, check out our blog!