When it comes to our health, the organ at the heart of everything is the heart. But we often I don’t even know when this very vital organ suffers because the symptoms can be so varied and subtle.
It makes sense when you think about it: Your heart is “decisive for your survival” says Healthline, which notes that it pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood and beats approximately 115,000 times each day. With such a vital organ, problems are bound to show up in a myriad of ways. For example, both regret and heartburn can be warning signs of heart disease.
Knowing about the symptoms of an unhealthy heart it is important taking care of your heart is an even better idea. “A healthy heart needs a good diet, moderate daily exercise and good control of risk factors,” he says. Kaustubh DabhadkarMD, a cardiologist based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Read on for more ways to improve your heart health.
Have a good laugh.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good LOL. “When you laughyour heart rate goes up and you take a lot of deep breaths,” says Henry Ford Health. “This means more oxygenated blood circulates through your body—improving your blood vessel function.”
The site also notes that in addition to reducing the risk of heart disease, laughter can help boost your immune system, lower blood pressureand help you lose weight.
Keep a journal.
The magazine doesn’t just help you shake things up a bad mood. “Individuals who write for 15-20 minutes, three to five times a weekexperienced fewer stress-related doctor visits, improved immune system functioning, a greater sense of psychological well-being, and lower blood pressure,” reports the Heart Foundation.
Don’t skip breakfast.
“A healthy diet and lifestyle are the keys for the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease,” says the American Heart Association (AHA), which recommends a variety of fruits and vegetables, products consisting primarily of whole grains, healthy sources of protein such as legumes and nuts, and foods prepared with little or no salt.
Junk food should be off the table, literally and figuratively. “Hamburgers, fries, sugary sodas and other less healthy foods can cause inflammation, a key player in the formation of artery-clogging plaque,” warns Harvard Health.
A good tip for avoiding these types of foods? Eat breakfast, says Dabhadkar. “This is the most important meal of the day and keeps me going,” he says. “I’m more likely to eat junk food if I skip breakfast.”
Exercise regularly – and early.
If the word “exercise” brings to mind the dreaded image of sweat-soaked towels at your local gym, rest easy: “Another 20 to 30 minutes moderate exercise every day reduces the future risk of heart disease,” says Dabhadkar.
A study in British Journal of Medicine reported that “study participants who performed muscle-strengthening exercise 30 to 60 minutes per week combined with any amount of aerobic activity saw their risk of dying from cancer drop by 28 percent, their risk of premature death from any cause drop by 40 percent percent, and theirs the risk of heart disease decreased by 46 percent”.
Choosing to include exercise in your morning routine may give your heart health an extra boost, according to a November 2022 article published in European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Researchers found that people who exercise in the morning were 16 percent less likely to suffer from coronary artery disease (CAD); In addition, their risk of a first-time stroke decreased by 17 percent.
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Manage your stress.
It’s easier said than done, but managing your stress levels can be beneficial for your heart and other aspects of your well-being. “Stress plays a vital role in lifestyle diseases (high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity),” advises Dabhadkar.
“A stressful situation begins a chain of events“Your body releases adrenaline, a hormone that temporarily causes your breathing and heart rate to increase and your blood pressure to rise.” When it’s a chronic condition (“stress is constant and your body is in high gear. and for weeks at a time,” says the AHA), persistently high blood pressure can increase your risk of a heart attack and stroke
“Meditation helps with stress management,” Dabhadkar — and so do diet and exercise (see above!).
Stop smoking – or better yet, don’t start.
The single most preventable risk factor for heart disease is smoking, which includes secondhand smoke and vaping. Kicking the habit—or quitting it altogether—is an essential component of keeping your heart healthy.
Although you may associate smoking primarily with lung disease, “Smoking damages almost every organ in your body, including your heart“, warns the American Lung Association. “Smoking can cause blockages and narrowing in your arteries, which means less blood and oxygen to your heart.”