How to Maintain a good heart
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential for keeping your heart in good condition. In addition to being a crucial muscle that transports nutrients throughout the body, the heart, like any other muscle, requires regular exercise to remain in good condition.
Consequently, know that keeping a healthy heart requires eliminating as many high-risk behaviors from your life as feasible. For some individuals, this might entail significant adjustments in almost every area of their everyday lives. Even reducing a few risk factors for heart disease may have a significant impact on your overall health.
1 Immediately discontinue all tobacco usage in whatever manner.
Tobacco use raises your risk of heart disease. Both tobacco and nicotine include a variety of substances that are harmful to your blood vessels and heart, resulting in atherosclerosis, which is a plaque buildup of cholesterol, fat, and calcium in your vessels that may cause your arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow.
The carbon monoxide included in cigarette smoke has also been related to increased mortality and morbidity. Because it interferes with oxygen delivery, your heart is compelled to pump more blood to compensate.
A heart attack may be caused by the constriction of the blood arteries, which is compounded by the stress placed on the heart. The only way to alleviate this stress on your heart and work toward a healthy heart is to quit smoking.
Cigarette smoking is responsible for around 1 in every 5 fatalities in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health, smoking is the most avoidable cause of death in the United States.
Stay at a healthy weight by exercising and eating well.
Increased body weight leads your body to take more work from your heart in order to maintain a baseline resting level. This constant pressure on your heart might cause it to become taxed, which can lead to greater problems in the future. You may lose weight by engaging in physical activity and eating a nutritious diet. Obesity is associated with a number of potentially deadly cardiac problems, including:
Coronary heart disease is a disorder caused by plaque buildup in the arteries that provide blood to the heart. Plaques may restrict your arteries as they develop, lowering the quantity of blood flow to your body and, as a result, the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to it. The additional strain on your heart from pushing blood through the narrower arteries may lead to angina (chest discomfort caused by oxygen shortage) or possibly a heart attack.
Having high blood pressure means that your heart needs to work harder in order to move the right quantity of oxygen and nutrients through your body. Over time, this may cause damage to your arteries and heart. When you are fat or overweight, your chance of developing high blood pressure increases considerably.
Stroke – A blood clot might form in your arteries if a plaque that has formed in them ruptures. An embolism may cause your brain to become starved of blood and oxygen, which can result in a stroke if it develops near to your brain.
Keep your stress levels under control.
In terms of cardiac health, stress may play a role. Increased stress causes the production of cortisol and adrenaline, which raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels in the bloodstream. Increased smoking, drinking, overeating, and being physically sedentary are all examples of stress-related activities that may harm your health. Your heart’s health will suffer as a result of any of these practices.
Reduced stress may be achieved by engaging in physical activity, eating a healthy diet, and refraining from smoking and drinking coffee. You should include these activities throughout your daily routine, especially if you are worried or feeling downhearted.
Consume nutritious foods.
Consume foods that are low in saturated and trans fats, such as lean red meat, deep-fried fast food, and processed meals. You should also steer clear of meals that are heavy in sodium and cholesterol as well. The consumption of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel and salmon, may help to lower the chance of developing a cardiac condition. The American Heart Association suggests that you have a diet that is mostly composed of the following foods (see the next section for specifics):
Fruits and vegetables are good for you.
Whole grains are a kind of grain that contains no refined grains.
Dairy products with low fat content
Nuts and seafood are good choices.
Concentrate on increasing your intake of heart-healthy “superfoods.”
Superfoods are a category of foods that has gained popularity in recent years due to the media’s emphasis on meals that have alleged health advantages. In the subject of nutrition, this phrase is not typically used by clinically educated health practitioners who are not involved in research. But many of these foods are thought to have a high nutritional density and to provide health advantages that go beyond those provided by other standard meal choices. Some of these foods are as follows:
Avocados – Avocados are called “superfoods” owing to the high concentration of monounsaturated fats found in their skins and flesh. Unsaturated fatty acids are liquid at room temperature, in contrast to saturated fatty acids. They are also known for their potential to lower cholesterol levels. The phytosterols found in avocados, which compete with cholesterol for absorption in the body, make them one of the most distinctive fruits on the planet. By competing with cholesterol, you are able to absorb less cholesterol, resulting in reduced levels of cholesterol in your blood.
Extra-virgin olive oil – Extra-virgin olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are beneficial in lowering “bad” cholesterol levels (LDL cholesterol). Olive oil has also been demonstrated to be beneficial in the prevention of blood clotting as well as the maintenance of stable blood sugar levels in humans.
Nuts – Peanuts and tree nuts (pecans, pistachios, walnuts, and so on) are very high in phytochemicals, vitamins, fiber, minerals, and unsaturated fats, making them a fantastic source of nutrition. Increasing HDL (good cholesterol), reducing LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol), and lowering your blood pressure have all been proved in studies to be beneficial to the heart.
Quinoa – Quinoa is a staple plant meal from South America that is high in protein and fiber. This cuisine is rich in protein and provides a variety of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber as well as other nutrients.
Dark chocolate – Dark chocolate must contain at least 70% cocoa by weight to be considered as such. Because it contains significant quantities of flavanoids, this kind of chocolate has the potential to decrease blood pressure. Despite the fact that it may be beneficial to your heart health, it is also highly heavy in calories and should not be consumed in large quantities.
Seafood, such as salmon, is a highly nutritious protein source that also includes high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids/fish oil, which have been demonstrated to have a major positive impact on cardiovascular health.
Wheat germ – Wheat germ is a high-fiber whole grain that may assist to prevent cholesterol from being absorbed into the body. Steel-cut oats are the most beneficial because they have a longer digesting period and a low glycemic index, making them the most beneficial. When you consume foods with a low glycemic index, your blood sugar levels will not spike, which may assist to avoid heart disease over time.
In addition, oranges have high levels of soluble fiber, which helps to lower cholesterol absorption by the digestive system. They also include potassium (which may aid in the maintenance of a healthy salt balance) and vitamin C.
Beans – Almost all forms of beans are rich in protein, fiber, and minerals, and they are also low in fat. Beans, which have a low glycemic index, will provide advantages comparable to those provided by steel-cut oats, such as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
Foods that are hazardous for your heart should be avoided. Foods heavy in saturated fats, trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, and cholesterol should always be avoided. Red meat, fast food, fried food, chips, drinks, excessive butter, and so on are examples of such foods. The majority of individuals are aware when they are consuming harmful meals. Make use of your best judgment and common sense, and pay attention to nutrition labels, which include the daily suggested levels for several nutrients.
Limit your intake of alcoholic beverages to a reasonable quantity.
According to the American Heart Association, males are permitted to have two alcoholic drinks each day in order to safeguard their hearts, while women are permitted to consume one.  More than that will have the opposite impact on your health.
If alcohol is not used in moderation, it may be harmful to the heart by increasing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and obesity.
Additionally, drinking alcohol might result in elevated levels of triglycerides in the blood. A particular type of lipids that may lead to illnesses such as pancreatitis are referred to as saturated fats. Alcohol use over an extended period of time may result in irreparable pancreatic damage (chronic pancreatitis).
Include dietary supplements in your daily routine.
While you should get the majority of your nutrition from meals, supplements may assist to make up for any nutritional gaps that may exist in your diet. These specific supplements, which may be found in the superfoods listed above, have been demonstrated to have some beneficial effects on heart health. They include:
Vitamins and minerals – A daily vitamin is a useful supplement since it may offer you with heart-healthy vitamins B3 (niacin), K, E, and magnesium, among other nutrients.
Herbs – Garlic, echinacea, and ginseng are known to have heart-healthy properties, among other things.
Others – Many individuals do not appreciate eating fish, despite the fact that it has several heart-healthy advantages. Alternative options include taking omega-3 fatty acid tablets in conjunction with coenzyme Q10.
Routinely check your blood pressure and cholesterol readings to ensure that they are within normal limits. This will keep you informed about the condition of your heart and enable you to take action before something bad occurs.
Blood pressure screenings – You should get your blood pressure checked at least once every two years. If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80, your doctor will most likely suggest that you get your BP tested once a year for the rest of your life (or more depending on how high the reading is or if you have kidney problems, heart disease, etc.) Free automated blood pressure equipment may also be available at your place of employment or drugstore. You may use them as frequently as you wish to augment your regular doctor’s appointments.
It is critical that you contact your doctor as soon as possible if your blood pressure is higher than 140/90 and your doctor is unaware of it.
Cholesterol Screening – Every five years, all males over the age of 34 should have their cholesterol levels checked. Your doctor will take blood samples, which will be sent to a laboratory for testing to determine your cholesterol levels.
He or she will go through the findings and readings with you when they are completed. As early as 20 years of age is suggested for screening for high cholesterol if you have any risk factors that might make you more likely to have high cholesterol in the future. Immediate family history of heart disease, diabetes, and past heart disease are all potential risk factors. Depending on the results of your routine workup, your doctor may recommend that you get checked more often.
Exercise should be included into your regular routine.
– To make any muscle stronger, one must engage in physical activity. Likewise, your heart suffers from the same problems as your mind. In accordance with AHA guidelines, the following is suggested: To get your blood moving and substantially enhance the health of your heart, you should do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every day.
Idealistically, you should do this 5 days a week for a total of 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week, or more.
A more moderate option is to engage in 25 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise three days a week, for a total of 75 minutes a week.
As an addition to cardiovascular exercise, you should include resistance training (weight/strength training) in your routine at least two days a week.
Create a healthy regimen from the ground up. You should only start with something easy that you are comfortable with, and then gradually raise the effort as your body becomes used to it. It is possible to overwork your heart by implementing a regimen that is too demanding too soon. If you have any medical issues, you should see your doctor before commencing any exercise regiments.