Your heart is the most important organ in your body, but there are many ways we can cause it strain. Taking care of your heart is essential.
Your heart is perhaps the most crucial organ in your body, as the rest of your internal organs, including your brain, wouldn’t be able to function without it.
This is because your heart is responsible for pumping nutrient-rich blood to all parts of your body. About 2,000 gallons of blood per day!
Heart Health and You: Taking Care of Your Heart
And this vital organ never rests, even when you sleep, which is why taking care of your heart is so important. The healthier your heart is, the better it will function, and the better you will feel.
To learn all you need to know about keeping your heart healthy, just keep reading!
Improve Your Diet
The importance of a proper diet cannot be overstated. Your body obtains nearly all of its nutrients through diet, and the amount of nutrients you consume determines how you feel. If there’s room for improvement in your diet (and no doubt there is), it’s time to get started.
First, let’s talk about what you should be eating. Regardless of your height, weight, or age, there are some universal rules to a good diet.
If you can, avoid the aisles of the grocery store entirely. The foods found in boxes, cans, and other containers are usually packed with additives, sugars, and salts. High amounts of salt and sugar are particularly harmful to your heart and your overall health.
The majority of your diet should consist of whole, nutrient-dense foods. This means plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
You should also pack your diet with as much fiber as possible. High fiber foods include oats, apples, black beans, and avocados.
While you can supplement your diet with a few vitamins for heart health, your body absorbs nutrients more efficiently through food and drink, meaning you should never rely solely on vitamins for nutrition.
Get More Physical Activity
Physical activity is right next to a healthy diet in importance. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of physical activity per week at the very least. For further benefits, you should be aiming for at least 300 minutes per week.
The more you can get your body moving, the better. Instead of sitting on the couch while you watch tv, consider riding a stationary bike or doing some housework. You’d be surprised at how big of a difference something as simple as taking the stairs at your office instead of the elevator can make.
If you can, make an effort to get both cardio and strength training in. Strength training two or three days a week can take your health and fitness to the next level. This is because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories your body burns, helping you to maintain and healthy weight, heart, and fitness level.
That said, don’t feel pressured to go to the gym if that isn’t something you enjoy. The more you look forward to your exercise for heart health, the more likely you are to stick to it. So take a walk with a friend or your dog, go for a swim, or play a game with your children.
Whatever makes you want to get up and move is what you should be doing!
But remember, you should always get the approval of your physician before beginning a new exercise regimen, especially if you have atrial fibrillation or another underlying condition.
Work On Your Mental Health
Many people put themselves and their well-being on the back burner in their daily life. However, this is a huge mistake. Your mental health is invaluable, and taking care of it should be among the top items on your priority list.
Allowing your mental health to fall to the wayside can lead to chronic stress, anxiety, and anger, which can do some serious damage to your heart. Mindset is everything – if you maintain a positive outlook on your life, you’ll not only be happier, but healthier as well.
Diet and exercise can help you do this, but you should also take time out of each day to do something for yourself. Call a friend to have a good laugh, listen to your favorite songs, or engage in a hobby!
Believe it or not, adopting a pet can also do wonders for your health. The unconditional love and joy shared between you, and your pet lowers your risk of heart disease and boosts your mental health.
Limit Alcohol and Abstain from Smoking
There are few things more detrimental to your health than smoking. If you’re serious about taking care of your heart health and you’re a smoker, quit immediately. Tobacco products like cigarettes are loaded with harmful chemicals that break down your heart, lungs, and other organs.
Not to mention, tobacco use is linked to a whopping 40% of cancers. Yes, quitting any addiction is tough, but the benefits of doing so make it well worth it in the end.
As for alcohol, you’ll be relieved to learn that drinking it in moderation is fine. In fact, a bit of red wine can be beneficial to your heart health. But massive amounts of alcohol is still harmful to your body, so you should always drink in moderation.
Taking Care of Your Heart Will Improve Your Overall Health
Taking care of your heart is essential to a long, happy life. If heart health alone isn’t enough motivation for you to change your lifestyle, consider that you will improve how you look and feel in your day to day life as well!
By making strides to better yourself through diet, exercise, and lowering stress, you’ll notice improvements in your energy levels, mood, and even your appearance, in no time!