February: American Heart Month
5 Tips To Improve Heart Health
Protecting heart health is key to maintain your overall well-being. Heart disease has become so prevalent among adults in the U.S. that the condition accounts for an estimated one in every four deaths that occur each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Proper protection of the heart is relatively easy, but so is causing damage to it. Unfortunately, once the damage is done, it’s hard to undo.
February is the month of love, but it is also American Heart Month when people are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the risk factors of heart disease and assess their cardiovascular health. Have a healthy heart so you can be with your loved ones for many years to come. Here are a few tips for a healthy heart.
- Healthy Diet
High cholesterol levels are a common trigger for declining heart health. Try swapping out chips or popcorn for nuts. Consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Use healthy fats like olive oil, flax seeds and avocados. These fats are filling and will help lower cholesterol levels. Say no to salt! Too much sodium in the bloodstream can increase water retention in blood vessels and increase blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure puts greater strain on the heart and can contribute to plaque build-up that blocks blood flow. Eat to fuel your body.
- Maintain Healthy Relationships
According to ABC News, studies have shown that spending time with a loved one can keep the heart healthy and functioning properly. When you are with the one you love the lightness you feel in your heart may just be your blood pressure dropping. A study in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that people who spend time with their romantic partners experienced a greater dip in blood pressure than those around strangers.
- Save Time for Relaxation
Try meditation, yoga, or set an hour a day aside to do your favorite hobbies. Everyone needs a little down time. Relaxation has been linked to lowering blood pressure levels. When you allow stress or anxiety to affect you, this puts strain on your heart, which makes relaxation important. Getting enough sleep each night is also essential to coping with high stress levels and maintaining a healthy heart.
- Get Active
According to the American Heart Association almost 70 percent of adult Americans are either overweight or obese. This puts them more at risk for serious health issues, including heart disease. In order to make your heart stronger, you must maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly. Your heart is a muscle after all!
- Get Plenty of “Z’s”
This tip seems easy enough. Sometimes it isn’t that simple when we have all these things we are trying to balance. Raulerson Hospital also explained that adults need about eight hours of restful sleep in order to maintain good heart health. In fact, sleep deprivation puts extra strain on the heart. This kind of strain increases the likelihood of obesity, just like lack of exercise. But paired with a balanced diet, healthy relationships, relaxation, enough exercise, and enough sleep should come easy- See, everything comes together in American Heart Month.