When you hear the word “heart,” you may think of love or romance. But for people with heart problems and high blood pressure, it’s more serious than that. The word heart can also refer to your circulatory system, which supplies your body with blood so that every cell has the nutrients it needs to thrive. The function of your heart is not limited to pumping blood through your veins and arteries; it also helps control how much stress and strain you put on your body by regulating your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. That’s why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the single most important step in preventing heart disease. Eating a diet that reduces risk factors while increasing good HDL cholesterol can go a long way towards keeping your ticker healthy.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, affecting people of all ages. The breakdown of the heart’s tissues and the subsequent build-up of plaque can create blockages in the arteries that feed the heart. These blockages can cause a heart attack, when a portion of the heart is suddenly deprived of oxygen-rich blood. In the United States, about 200,000 people die from heart disease each year, making it the top killer. While there is no cure for heart disease, there are things you can do to greatly reduce your risk of getting it. Eating well, exercising regularly, and keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in check can greatly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Know Your Cholesterol
Trillions of people walking this blue planet of ours rely on cholesterol to survive, but it’s also the number one enemy of your cardiovascular health. It’s essential, but in excess, it’s toxic to your body. While you need it, you also need to keep it in check. You need a certain amount of cholesterol in your system to be able to function properly, but too much can lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and a host of other illnesses. Cholesterol is a type of lipid that’s made by your liver. It’s also found in certain foods, like eggs, meat, and fish. There are two types of cholesterol in the human body, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
The Mediterranean diet is a heart-healthy eating plan rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, and fish. It also contains moderate amounts of dairy products, alcohol (preferably red wine), and legumes. This diet is similar to the dietary recommendations from the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but it has stricter guidelines for fat intake. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancers. It may also help with weight loss and promote healthy aging. People who follow this diet tend to eat less red meat, more fish, olive oil, and whole grains, and more fruits and vegetables. They also eat smaller portions and drink alcohol moderately. When done right, the Mediterranean diet is a great way to improve your heart health.
Watch Your Weight and Exercise
Excess weight, especially around your midsection, can increase your risk for heart disease. It can also make other risk factors, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, much worse. The best way to prevent obesity is to maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity, like brisk walking or jogging, 5 days a week. Exercise can also help lower your LDL cholesterol and increase your HDL cholesterol, two factors that can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. Taking Quercetin supplements to support weight loss and aid in strengthening your immune system is a great habit to incorporate into your daily rolutine.
Eat more Omega-3s
Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, substances that can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease. You can also get omega-3s from vegetable oils, nuts, and grains. A study of over 1000 heart attack survivors found that those who increased their omega-3 intake over a 5-year period reduced their risk of another heart attack by 35%. Another study found that people who ate at least one serving of fish per week reduced their risk of cardiovascular disease by 10%.
Get more fiber – especially soluble fiber
Fiber is an essential nutrient that can lower your cholesterol and help prevent heart disease. It’s also good for your digestive system, preventing constipation and irregular bowel movements. Most of us don’t get enough fiber in our diet. The recommended daily intake for adults is 25 grams per day for men and 21 grams per day for women. You can get more fiber in your diet by eating more fruits and vegetables. In particular, bran, oats, and beans are very high in fiber. You can also find fiber supplements in pill form, although it’s best to consume the real thing whenever possible.
Heart disease is a serious threat that can creep up on you without warning. There are many risk factors associated with heart disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Thankfully, many of these risk factors can be controlled through diet and lifestyle. By following a heart-healthy diet, along with getting plenty of exercise, managing your stress, and getting enough sleep, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease.