Modern Heart Health
In today’s world, hearts are under a lot of pressure, from stress-related issues to biological factors that, when combined with everyday stresses, can raise blood pressure or cause severe health issues like heart disease. Fortunately there are scientifically proven steps that will not only keep your heart healthy, but stave off certain preventable heart related diseases.
Step 1: Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight is important as excess weight can increase risks of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.1 To find out a body weight that’s healthy for you, consult and calculate your body mass index (BMI). Consulting a doctor about your BMI will result in an accurate reading and can help you determine how much weight you need to lose.
Sometimes the simplest of changes is needed to lose weight effectively. Simple things like sugary drinks are often the main culprit behind weight gain. Reduce or cut out these items and your body can sometimes lose weight alone from that. However, combining diet modification and exercise are your best bets to lose excess weight quickly and efficiently.
The pressure to lose weight in modern society is a heavy burden, and can more often than not cause people to gain more weight due to said pressure. Always keep in mind that losing weight should be, first and foremost, about living a healthy life. Working out for beauty and vanity alone makes it more difficult to stick to a healthy diet and exercise regimen.
Step 2: Keep Blood Pressure Low
High blood pressure is a common cause of debilitating heart issues, some of which can even cause death. The force from high blood pressure damages artery walls, creating scar tissue that can obstruct critical blood and oxygen flow to your heart.
Curtailing high blood pressure is a combination of regular exercise, maintaining a healthy mental state and eating healthy food. Avoid foods with high levels of sodium, alginate, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium hydroxide and sodium benzoate.2 Cutting back on salty foods and alcohol, key culprits behind high blood pressure, while getting regular exercise for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce high blood pressure.
It’s important to realize that mental health plays a key role in maintaining low blood pressure as stress can cause blood pressure levels to spike regardless of how much you exercise or what leafy-greens you eat. Relaxing mental activities such as yoga, meditating, playing games or reading an engaging book can calm your mind to keep thoughts from racing.
Step 3: Sleep More
Sleep makes up a core part of our lives and for good reason. Getting at least eight hours of sleep a night allows the body to rejuvenate itself, bolstering your immune system and giving you the energy to take on the day ahead of you.
However, losing sleep can be detrimental, slowing down your metabolism and making you more prone to weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.3 Losing sleep can also complicate matters for your mental state, making you more susceptible to stress and depression.
Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a night, refrain from eating a full meal right before bed and keep lights and electronically-lit devices off or dim to ease your mind and body into a sleep-ready phase. Don’t go to bed on an empty stomach either. Eat something like a slice of turkey, which contains sleep inducing chemicals, or drink a glass of low-fat milk to curve midnight cravings.
Step 4: Sit Less, Move More2
Sitting is killing you, quite literally. Scientific studies have shown that sitting is extremely terrible for your heart, causing early onset heart disease and high blood pressure in people who sit for extended periods of time. Experts advise that everyone should get at least 150 minutes of movement or moderate exercise a week.
Daily careers and jobs can understandably prevent you from getting the movement you need in your day. However, you can always inquire about the availability of standing work stations to offset the amount of time you sit every day. It may seem strange or odd but incorporate standing or some sort of physical activity while watching TV or while talking on the phone. Any sort of movement helps and can improve your health and even extend your lifespan.
Step 5: Put The Butt Out
Smoking isn’t just bad for your lungs but your heart as well. Smoking reduces the ability of lungs to inhale and process air and often results in emphysema. Add high blood pressure and heart disease to the mix and an early but preventable death is sure to follow.
Cut out smoking not just for your health but for the people who care about you. Nicotine gum is one way to wean smokers off tobacco, providing a fix but without the nasty side-effects that cigarettes cause. E-cigarettes are also a viable alternative to smoking as they don’t contain many of the harmful chemicals found in regular cigarettes. However, studies on e-cigarettes are relatively new and future studies may reveal that e-cigarettes could cause other potential side effects.