It’s never too early to start living a heart-healthy lifestyle and to learn how to keep your heart healthy for years to come. Take a look at these health tips to prevent debilitating cardiac conditions like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and stroke.
This is one of the best things you can do for your heart. A sedentary lifestyle raises your cardiovascular risk, while physical activities like walking, aerobics, or yoga normalize blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack. In fact, the most simple, and meaningful change you can do to improve your heart health is to switch off the TV, get off the couch, and start an exercise regime that you must follow religiously. You just need to set aside 30 minutes in a day, five days a week, and have a rollicking weekend with Netflix, a healthy diet, and chilling.
According to studies, social isolation and depression in women have been related to the risk of chronic conditions like high blood pressure and heart diseases. Loneliness is clearly a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) being similar to that of other stressors, such as anxiety and job strain. Research shows that women who are socially active have healthier hearts, and are less depressed. So, call up your old BFF, set a date, and spend quality time with the people who matter the most to you.
Refresh your Eating Habits
Keeping your heart healthy doesn’t mean eating a big bowl of bland oatmeal and a life without butter. The reality is that eating for heart health isn’t about focusing on one (or a few) foods or avoiding some completely. It’s all about eating a healthy blend of nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods for heart health with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and carbs that are rich in nutrients like fiber. It’s a good idea to add at least three or four different colors to your plate rather than those that don’t bring a whole lot else to the nutrient table.
Our heart is highly susceptible to damage from not just foods but drinks too. Consumption of beverages like coffee and tea in moderation — up to 4 cups per day — has unexpected benefits for the heart, as they contain plant compounds called flavonoids that are good for cardiovascular health. Energy drinks, sodas and sugary fruit juices are all a big ‘no no’ as they increase heart attack risk in both men and women. Alcohol is another health hazard if not consumed in limited quantities.
Mind those Cholesterol Numbers
After menopause, women’s normal cholesterol readings change for the worse. The LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol tend to increase, raising heart risks. So, it is very especially important to get your numbers checked – blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol in perimenopause and the early years after menopause. Be mindful on how high is too high, and when and how to take action to lower levels. It may be helpful to proactively go for regular health tests or seek trusted medical advice from your doctor.
A heart-healthy diet doesn’t have to mean never indulging in that occasional glass of wine, giving up dessert, or depriving yourself of delicious cookies. Remember, a handful of potato chips or an extra pinch of salt on your popcorn won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. What’s important is making little changes—and sticking to them—that can make a huge difference in your heart’s health. Also, periodic (at least once a year) heart health checkup is also an ideal way of keeping a check on your cardiovascular well-being.
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