How to Revamp Your Day for Better Heart Health
Concerned about your heart health and what you can do to protect yourself from cardiovascular diseases? We hear you. Looking at US heart disease statistics is enough to get anyone searching for ways to reduce their exposure to this risk.
While there are plenty of fantastic innovations in cardiology treatments and interventional cardiology training. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Here are some ways you can live your day with an eye focused on better heart health.
- Have a cup of black tea.
Start your day off right! And make that a cup of tea instead of a cup of coffee. Research has showed continued evidence that black tea helps reduce high cholesterol. High cholesterol is dangerous because the buildup of it in your system causes your arteries to narrow and become blocked up.
In a number of studies conducted over the years, tea was shown to cut total cholesterol levels by up to 7 percent. Think about that when you are deciding what to drink for your morning brew.
- Eat something red.
Think fast. What do strawberries, tomatoes, hot chilis, and watermelon have in common? Did you answer red? Or perhaps you know a little bit more than the average reader. Fruits and vegetables that are red have lycopene and flavonoids to thank for their bright hues. These two compounds have been studied for their role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
Load up on the red produce for your in-between-meal snacks and you will be eating something healthy, while doing your heart a favor.
- You’ve got to move it, move it!
A day of heart health would not be complete without mentioning the role exercise plays in keeping the heart disease-free. You’ve likely heard it all before and know of exercise’s many benefits. But do you know exactly how much exercise a day you should be getting?
Here are the exercise guidelines straight from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
- Per week, do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity, or 21 minutes of that a day.
- Alternatively, you can aim for 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. Or something equal to two sessions of 36 minutes per week.
Walk to the supermarket and skip taking the car. Do some weeding in your garden. Meet up with a friend for some power walking at the mall. Get creative to avoid boredom.
- Call it quits on stress.
Researchers are still trying to figure out the link between stress and heart disease. One theory is that stressful situations cause you to engage in other high-risk activities that cause heart disease. For example, eating foods high in cholesterol, smoking, etc.
One thing most health professionals do agree on is that we need to work on eliminating stress from our lives. As chronic stress has many harmful side effects. On a daily basis, this means finding a way to wash away your cares as you would day-old dirt. To some it might mean meditation, to others it might mean positive affirmations. Whatever your way of finding your happy place, make it a permanent part of your schedule.
- Sleep more.
Let’s admit it. We have all been looking for a reason to sleep in. Now you have one. For every additional hour you sleep, your odds of developing coronary artery calcification drop by 33 percent. Not bad, right? Other data showed that those who slept less than 6 hours a night were twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke than those who slept 6 to 8 hours a night. So don’t scoff at your need to sleep.
With only a few modifications to your daily routine, you can be on your way to a stronger and healthier heart in short order. Consider revising your schedule to make that a reality.