8 Ways to Take Care of Your Heart
Daily habits play a huge role in the strength and health of your heart. Here are some ways you can improve your heart health today:
- Review your risk. Take our free heart health assessment.
- Evaluate what you eat. To lower your overall cholesterol and triglyceride (bad fat) levels, cut back on foods that are high in sugar and fat. To increase the HDL (good cholesterol) in your body, increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Also, find ways to fit fish into your diet. This amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your risk of heart disease by a third or more.
- Shun the salt. Most of our high salt intake comes from processed food and restaurant-prepared food. Think twice before filling up on your favorite fast-food fix.
- Move more. Even something as simple as walking for 30 minutes every day can help your heart. Quit circling the parking lot looking for that spot close to the door. Park farther away and take the extra steps. Take the stairs rather than the elevator. Aim for 10,000 steps a day.
- Take good care of your teeth. Brushing and flossing eliminate inflammation-causing bacteria that can raise your risk for heart disease. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Have regular dental checkups, too.
- Hit the hay. Lack of sleep can alter your metabolism, making you prone to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Remove all artificial light such as computers, glowing alarm clocks and televisions from your bedroom.
- Stop smoking. Smoking increases your heart rate, constricts major arteries and raises blood pressure. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to stop.
- Stress less. Stress from work or a hectic schedule can send your blood pressure skyrocketing. Find ways too relax. Take several deep breaths. Play with your kids or take your dog for a walk.