Our heart is a muscle that does an incredible amount of work all of our lives, every second of every day. It truly deserves for us to take care of it as much as it takes care of us.
Most of the time, we only become aware of our heart and what it does for us when we develop a heart condition. Only then is when we stop and consider all the wrong things we do that harm our heart on the everyday basis.
If you simply want or really have to reduce the risk of a heart attack in the future, there are a couple of changes you could introduce to your lifestyle. What’s even better, they are not as demanding as you may think – you just need some discipline and persistence.
1. Healthy diet
To put it simply – you need to start paying attention to what you eat. However, in order to reduce the risk of a heart attack as much as possible, you can’t simply decide to eat more vegetables and less sweets. It’s not as simple as that. There are different types of healthy diets, but they differ according to the level of success when it comes to protecting your heart. In most cases and according to the majority of different research there are two types of diet that could help your heart most effectively:
The Mediterranean diet – it consists of a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, but also fish, legumes, whole grains and fiber foods.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet – this diet mainly focuses on fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as whole grains and food rich with healthy fats and proteins. It is a diet that is most commonly recommended if you want to fight high blood pressure. It also highlights the importance of limiting the amount of salt on the daily basis (no more than one teaspoon of salt). However, in case you suffer from diabetes, chronic kidney disease or high blood pressure or you are over 50, then the daily amount of salt should be even lower (about 1,500 mg).
2. Regular physical activity
It is incredibly important to be physically active on the daily basis. But don’t think you have to take up a high-intensity activity to rip the benefits, According to research, you should have at least 150 minutes of physical activity every week. It would be enough for you to maintain your healthy weight and to lower the cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
The slightest amount of physical activity is better than doing nothing. Even if you are completely inactive right now, start from tomorrow, but begin slowly. It can be a half hour walk around your neighborhood or a short bike ride. Any kind of activity strengthens your heart muscle and helps you reduce weight, which consequently reduces the stress on your heart. Physical activity also reduces levels of stress, which again helps your cardiovascular system.
3. Get regular and quality sleep
Sleep is often neglected as a way to help your heart, but advice from a good cardiologist will definitely include that you get enough sleep every night. Poor cardiovascular health is connected to the lack of sleep. In case you sleep less than 6 hours a night or you have irregular sleep pattern, there are higher chances of you developing diabetes, coronary heart disease or suffer from high blood pressure.
4. Engaging in social activities
Social activities that you enjoy can help you relax and decrease stress levels. Find yourself a hobby, meditate or simply spend as much time as possible with your friends and family. Enjoyable activities like these will also lower your blood pressure. Consequently, lower stress levels could result in you succumbing to bad habits like smoking, overeating or drinking alcohol.
5. Quit smoking
Smoking and even breathing secondhand smoking should be completely forbidden. Chemicals in tobacco can seriously damage your blood cells, which then increase the risk of a coronary heart disease. So, do whatever you must in order not to expose yourself to tobacco smoke, directly or indirectly.
Protecting your heart from developing a heart condition is a way of life. The changes you can introduce are not easy, but there are also not impossible for you to do. Just think how much you are helping out your heart.
Mia Johnson is a freelance writer with a ten-year long career in journalism. She has written extensively about health, fitness, and lifestyle. A native to Melbourn, she now lives in Sidney with her 3 dogs where she spends her days writing and taking care of her 900 square feet garden.