14 Ways to Improve Your Heart Health
August 08 2022
Making Small Changes can Make it Easier to Protect Your Heart
Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldwide. Despite this statistic, it is possible to improve your heart health and reduce risk factors by making some changes in your life.
Some may find it easy to make changes to their lifestyle. For many, it can be a huge undertaking to change habits. Because of this, it is important to understand that improving your heart health is about making a series of smaller changes to your life.
Once you begin, you may find that it isn’t so hard after all. While this approach may take longer, it can be easier to make these changes into more permanent habits and can motivate you to keep going or make even bigger changes!
1 | Walk it Out
If you don’t do much or any exercise at all, starting an intensive exercise program can be daunting. To help you build up to a bigger cardiovascular exercise program, start by taking short walks. A 10-minute walk each day can be a great way to add more exercise to your day!
2 | Give Yourself a Lift
Doing some light lifting with a hardcover book or two-pound weight a few times a day can help tone your arm muscles. It’s also a great way to ease into lifting heavier items or joining a gym. Just like with the shorter walks, the goal is to start slow and low and work your way up to more.
3 | Eat One More
Eat one extra fruit or veggie each day. Fruits and vegetables are inexpensive, taste good, and are good for your entire body! They are packed with nutrients and vitamins that can improve your brain, heart, and muscles.
4 | Make it Count
Make breakfast count by starting off the day with a serving of whole grains and some fruit. Some good whole grains to try include oatmeal, bran flakes, or whole wheat toast.
5 | Stop Drinking Your Calories
Sweet drinks add calories but don’t help you feel full or give you the nutrients your heart needs to be healthy. Cutting back on just one sweetened soda or coffee a day can save you 100 calories or more. Over a year, that can translate into 10 pounds of lost weight.
6 | Add Fish
Too much red meat can be bad for your heart. Instead, replace red meat once a week with fish or other types of seafood. Seafood is good for the heart, brain, and waistline. Salmon can be an especially good choice as it contains omega-3 fatty acids.
7 | Go Nuts!
Nuts such as walnuts, almonds, and peanuts can be good for your heart. Grab a handful of nuts instead of chips or a cookie when you need a snack. Also try adding them to salads for a healthy crunch, or using them in place of meat in pasta dishes.
8 | Wholly Guacamole!
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats that are good for the heart. Try spreading some homemade guac on a sandwich or eating some mashed avocado on whole wheat toast for some fun heart-healthy meals.
9 | Moderation
Know that you don’t need to completely cut out foods and drinks that you enjoy, like chocolate or alcohol. In fact, dark chocolate is full of antioxidants that have been shown to increase good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol, and reduce the risk of blood clotting. The important thing is to remember to indulge in moderation.
10 | Don’t Overeat
Overeating in one sitting can lead to blood shifting from the heart to the digestive system as well as faster and irregular heart rhythms which can cause a heart attack or heart failure. Don’t overeat. Instead of eating three bigger meals a day, try eating six smaller meals a day to help avoid overeating.
11 | Breathe
Reducing stress can help your heart. Using deep breathing or mindful breathing can help reduce stress. Spend a few minutes each day practicing this technique to help reduce your blood pressure.
12 | Hand Hygiene
Infections such as the flu and pneumonia can be very hard on the heart. To protect yourself from infection, be sure to practice proper hygiene by washing your hands often. Lather up and scrub with soap to wash away the germs.
13 | Practice Gratitude
Taking a moment each day to acknowledge the blessings in your life can help you tap into other positive emotions. Practicing gratitude has been linked to better health, reduced blood pressure, a longer life, and greater overall well-being.
14 | Quit Smoking
Smoking is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease. While it isn’t a small thing, you can start with one small first step. That first small step you should take is to speak with your doctor to find the best strategy to help you begin to quit smoking.