How to Keep the Heart Healthy and Fit
It is important to take care of your heart health for a healthy life and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular conditions that can endanger health. Choosing healthy lifestyle practices such as proper nutrition, exercise and calmness will help you enjoy a stronger and healthier body. oneHOWTO shows you some tips to help you better understand how to keep the heart healthy and fit by simply making some simple lifestyle changes.
We are what we eat: our body can only function well thanks to the nutrients we receive from each meal. So, to keep your heart healthy and fit, it is essential that you feed your body with nutritional food and reduce your consumption of fattier and less healthy options.
So, for optimum heart function, the following foods should be include d in your diet:
- Fish rich in Omega 3: this is one of the best to protect your heart because fish is rich in EFAs which can only be obtained through food because our body does not naturally create it. Good choices are fish such as tuna and salmon, anchovies and cod.
- Berries: These currants are very healthy for our heart as they provide a wealth of benefits to this vital organ. They are full of antioxidants, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, thereby reducing the possibility of suffering attacks or strokes. They also provide potassium and magnesium, minerals that help to maintain blood pressure at recommended levels.
- Olive oil: one of the best healthy fats for a healthy heart. The oil is rich in polyphenols, ideal for reducing blood cholesterol and thus protecting blood vessels.
- Oats: full of fiber, ideal for improving cardiovascular system as it helps to reduce the absorption of fat in our body and thus improves intestinal transit.
- Nuts: like fish, nuts are rich in essential fatty acids ideal for our vital organ to work correctly and be protected against disease.
- Fibre-rich foods: Leafy green vegetables, legumes and fruit are also ideal for reducing body fat, regulate cholesterol and cleanse the body naturally.
OneHowTo gives more details on the best foods for the heart.
Just as some foods are fantastic in improving heart health, other foods should be avoided at all costs as they can impair blood flow, clog arteries and lead to a higher risk of suffering from a disease. Below is a list of foods to avoid:
- Salt: this is one of the causes of hypertension and can also clog veins and therefore prevent blood flowing through the body, and thus, prevent the oxygenation of organs.
- Fats: both fried foods and pastries are fatty foods that often contain both trans and saturated fats, detrimental to heart health. Reducing the intake of fatty foods will be beneficial to your health.
- Processed meat: a study published by WHO warned that processed meats causes cancer, especially in the colon. This is because it contains ingredients and chemicals used for increasing preservation and / or enhancing flavor, which are toxic. Furthermore, it is high in saturated fats and may also eventually block the arteries with fat deposits.
- Red meat: the same WHO study also warned against the consumption of red meat, a type of food that contains high levels of saturated fats that are harmful to the body.
Besides taking into account aspects related to food in order to have a healthy heart, it is essential to start practicing physical exercise to stimulate blood circulation and the pumping of blood around the body by the heart. During exercise, the heart pumps faster and this allows blood to circulate better and reach all parts of our body.
If you have never done any exercise, you can start by walking. Instead of strolling leisurely along, we recommend power-walking for half an hour a day, adding 10 minutes every week. Ideally you should walk for 45 minutes every day to get your body working properly, including your heart.
Another perfect cardiovascular exercise is swimming because it is a type of exercise that can be mild, working all the muscles and improving breathing. Similarly, water aerobics is a highly recommended practice because water exercises are more difficult and provide more resistance, therefore increasing endurance and physical condition.
Yoga or Pilates are also good choices to help you exercise your heart, improve your breathing and strengthen your muscles.
It is important that you also lead a relaxed and quiet life as stress and anxiety can trigger heart problems. Note that excessive stress can eventually cause an artery to rupture and trigger a stroke. Therefore, keeping stress levels to a minimum is key, which you could achieve with techniques such as meditation that will help to clear the mind, disconnect you from the stresses of everyday life and to reflect inwards on yourself.
Similarly, it is essential to rest properly and sleep at least 7 hours a night. If your body is not rested, the risk of suffering from tachycardia or metabolic syndrome is elevated.
Stop smoking to increase your chances of maintaining a strong and healthy heart. Note that cigarette smoke contains toxins that cause arteries to collapse, meaning that the heart will have to work harder in pumping blood around the body. In addition, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen in the blood.
Many medical studies show that drinking a moderate amount of alcohol daily can protect the heart (1 or 2 glasses of wine a day maximum). However, if this amount is exceeded, it will cause negative consequences as toxins enter the body and increase pressure, alter our heart beat and increase the risk of coronary diseases.
Don't forget that alcohol is high in calories and therefore increases the amount of saturated fat in our body which, as mentioned above, has disastrous effects on the human body.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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