Important Steps You Can Take to Boost Heart Health

Important Steps You Can Take to Boost Heart Health

Heart health is always important in the United States and around the world and perhaps is that no more obvious than right now. With the Covid-19 outbreak, we’re seeing the effects of underlying chronic illnesses and how they can mean worse outcomes for people who contract the virus. One of those contributing underlying conditions could be heart disease.

Even without the consideration of the outbreak, heart disease causes around 25% of deaths each year. These deaths are the result of heart attacks, coronary artery disease, aortic aneurysms, and congenital heart defects.

The following are some important things to know about heart health.

The Impacts of Cardiovascular Disease

According to Harvard Health, cardiovascular disease is a broad, umbrella term for all diseases affecting the heart and the blood vessels.

Almost half of all adults in the United States have some type of cardiovascular disease, and one of the risk factors is high blood pressure, which is known as hypertension. A lot is coming to light that shows the importance of blood pressure and maintaining healthy levels for overall heart health.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. with stroke ranking as the number five cause of death.

As you age, it can take a toll on your heart but that doesn’t mean cardiovascular disease is inevitable with aging. It is important that you start thinking proactively about heart health from as early an age as possible, however.

The following are steps that you can take to make a short-term impact on your heart health and also see long-term benefits.

Watch Your Portion Sizes

Yes, what you eat is important for heart health, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that how much you eat is equally important.

Restaurants are notorious for serving portions that are way beyond what we should be eating. Restaurant portions are packed with calories, sodium, and processed items.

You have to watch your portion sizes in restaurants and at home, and keep up with how much you’re eating.

Get Your Blood Pressure Checked

High blood pressure is frequently called the silent killer and too often, people aren’t even aware of how high theirs is.

Combat the risk of heart disease and related complications by getting your blood pressure checked regularly and even checking it at home.

Then, you’ll know more about what steps you need to take to keep it in control.

Watch Your Diet

Along with watching how much you eat, it’s so important to think about what you’re eating as well. You need to be eating nutrient-dense foods that are good for your heart.

First, try to focus on getting more fruits and vegetables into your diet. A plant-based diet is not only good because it helps you keep your unhealthy fat intake low, but fruits and vegetables often include substances that combat cardiovascular disease.

If you’re filling up with more fruits and vegetables, you’re also less likely to eat less healthy foods just because you’re hungry.

When you do have carbohydrates, try to opt for whole grains that have heart-healthy fiber.

While fats are not inherently bad, some fats are worse than others for your heart. Saturated fat and trans fat are considered bad fats.

Fats you should try to limit include butter, lard, hydrogenated oils, and cream-based sauces.

Healthier fats to choose instead include olive oil and fats from avocadoes, nuts, and seeds.

As far as protein, look to low-fat sources. Lean meats like chicken as well as fish and eggs are good sources of protein. You can also get protein from legumes which include lentils, peas, and beans.

Try to lower your sodium intake. If you frequently eat out, you might be getting a lot more sodium than you realize. Packaged and processed foods might be loaded with sodium too.

Move Your Body

Being physically active can help improve every aspect of your mental and physical health, and in particular, your heart health.

A lot of times, people take an all-or-nothing attitude and feel that if they can’t go at full-speed for every workout it’s not worth their time. That is not the reality.

You should try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, and that can include gardening, cycling, and walking. Just trying to spend less time sitting is going to give your heart a boost.

These are all simple strategies that anyone can put into place today to help their heart.

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