How healthy is your heart? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 25% of all deaths in the United States are attributed to heart disease. Each year, an estimated 610,000 Americans die from it, making it the leading cause of death, even surpassing cancer and unintentional injuries. You can lower your risk of heart disease, however, by making some changes to your lifestyle.
#1) Cut Back on Salt
Research shows that people who consume lots of salt in their diet are up to twice as likely to develop heart disease than their counterparts who consume moderate, normal amounts of salt. The overconsumption of salt, or sodium in general, causes blood pressure to spike, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease.
#2) Keep Stress Under Control
While easier said than done, you should try to keep your stress levels under control. Everyone experiences stress. Whether it’s from your job, finances or relationships, stress causes the release of hormones like cortisol that can adversely affect your heart health. This is why many doctors recommend a complete lifestyle change to individuals at risk for heart disease, including stress management techniques like meditation or yoga.
#3) Drink Coffee… But Only in Moderation
Drinking coffee may strengthen your heart health and lower your risk of heart disease. According to a study published by the American Heart Association (AHA), people who consume three to five cups of coffee per day have the lowest risk of heart disease. But researchers found that “heavy” coffee drinkers had an increased risk of disease. Limit yourself to no more than five cups per day to reap the heart health benefits of coffee.
#4) Get Your Cholesterol Levels Tested
If you haven’t had them tested in a while, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to have your cholesterol levels tested. This fatty substance is produced naturally by our bodies, though it’s also found in some foods. As cholesterol builds up inside the arteries, it can increase your blood pressure while leaving you susceptible to heart disease in the process. Your doctor can perform a simple blood test to measure your cholesterol levels. A typical test will reveal your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol as well as your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. The former is known as the “bad” type of cholesterol, whereas the latter is known as the “good” type of cholesterol.
#5) Include Fish in Your Diet
Fish isn’t just an excellent source of lean protein; it contains beneficial omega-3 fatty acids that protect the heart from disease. Research has shown that eating fish just twice a week lowers the risk of heart disease. When shopping at the grocery store, choose fatty varieties of fish like salmon and mackerel for maximum benefit.
#6) Improve the Air Quality Inside Your Home
You might be surprised to learn that the air inside your home can affect your risk of heart disease. The CDC explains that breathing polluted air can lead to blood clots, which in turn can lead to stroke. To lower your risk of heart disease, try to clean up the air inside your home. Changing the air filter every few months, vacuuming and avoiding the use of VOC-emittng products — air fresheners, scented candles, etc. — can all have a positive impact on the air quality.
#7) Perform Aerobic Exercises for 75 to 150 Minutes a Week
All forms of exercise are beneficial to your health, but aerobic exercises offer the greatest benefit for your heart. Also known as cardiovascular exercise, aerobic exercise is any type of physical activity that increases your heart rate and breathing rate for a sustained period of time. Running and jogging are considered aerobic exercises, and performing them for 75 to 150 minutes per week can strengthen your heart and lower your risk of heart disease.
#8) Stay Away from Tobacco and Alcohol
It’s best to stay away from tobacco and alcohol products to minimize your risk of heart disease. Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict, while drinking alcohol can lead to high blood pressure. Either way, both types of products can increase your risk of heart disease.
#9) Eat More Whole Grains
Not to be confused with refined grains, whole grains are good for your heart and can lower your risk of heart disease. While refined grains contain little or no fiber, whole grains contain lots of fiber. When consumed, the fibrous content of whole grains helps to flush cholesterol from your arteries.
#10) Manage Your Weight
Weight management is essential to protecting against heart disease. According to a study cited by Everyday Health, people who are overweight or obese are 21% to 85% more likely to develop heart disease than people with a healthy weight. Being overweight places greater stress on your organs, arteries and blood vessels, all of which can increase your risk of heart disease.
To learn more about Atlanta Chiro and Wellness’s integrative medicine and health services, contact us today.Share