Seven Steps For a Healthy Heart

The heart is the body's engine room, so make sure it stays healthy in order to keep your body running properly.

Regardless of age or gender, there's no better time than the present to start taking care of your heart. After all, the heart is the body's engine room, pumping blood throughout the body, supplying nutrients and oxygen to tissues and removing waste. Keeping the heart healthy requires adopting smart lifestyle choices. Here are seven steps you can take immediately to take care of your heart:

Eat a healthy diet.

A well-balanced meal provides your heart with all the nutrients it needs and assists in weight loss. Your diet should include fruits and vegetables, wholegrain starchy foods, dairy products, and non-dairy sources of protein (like meat, fish nuts, eggs, and beans). It is important to limit your intake of foods and drinks that are high in fats, sugar and sodium. If you should chose to drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Quit smoking.

According to the American Heart Association, smoking greatly increases the risk of coronary heart disease and decreases your body's ability to undertake physical activity. Even second-hand smoke exposure increases your chances of cardiovascular disease by up to 30 percent!

Be physically active.

Being active at a young age makes it much easier to remain active as an adult. Regular exercise sheds extra body weight, as well as reducing blood pressure and bad cholesterol. It also improves muscle strength, and increases the body's intake of oxygen.

Know your family medical history.

A history of heart disease and strokes in the family increases your chances of cardiovascular problems. You can change the behaviours that put you at greater risk of heart problems.

Stop stressing out

There is a strong correlation between mental health and physical health, and stress is a perfect example of this. Excessive stress can cause high blood pressure, ulcers, headaches, and an increase in eating, smoking and alcohol consumption. Exercise, a healthy diet and cutting back on caffeine can all help reduce your stress level.

Get regular health exams.

Most people go to the doctor only when they are sick, but healthy people need a regular check-up too. Your doctor should check your blood pressure, blood sugar, heart-rate, cholesterol and body mass index (BMI). It is easier to spot changes in your health when you are screened regularly.

Know the warning signs of a heart attack and stroke

Many people who have heart attacks and strokes don't even know they are having them, and the symptoms differ between men and women. You are more likely to recover if you recognize these symptoms and receive immediate assistance.

Adopting the above healthy habits will not only make you feel younger inside, but they will also help you live your life to its fullest and prolong the time you have to spend with family and loved ones.

Did you know ?

Walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to become more active for heart health. According to the American Heart Association, walking for at least 30 minutes per day is beneficial to the heart. Start from a leisurely gait and work your way up to a brisk pace. Whether you're walking the dog or shopping, alone or with friends, before breakfast or after dinner, find a walking routine that works for you and make it part of your schedule every day.

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