8 ways to keep your heart healthy

The heart is one of the most important organs of the human body, and its health directly affects our quality of life. However, modern people’s life is fast-paced and stressful, and heart health is often ignored. In fact, our hearts are very sensitive and can reflect our living habits and environment. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the most important thing to keep your heart healthy starts with making lifestyle changes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease will remain the leading cause of death in the United States through 2022. While factors such as genetics can contribute to heart disease, the best way to avoid heart problems is to keep your heart healthy. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), many risk factors can be changed or controlled.

“Lifestyle has a huge impact on your heart health,” Holly S. Anderson, MD, attending cardiologist and associate professor of clinical medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, tells Health. “It’s more important than genetics.” Dr. Anderson hits the nail on the head: The American Heart Association (AHA) estimates that 80 percent of cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, is preventable.

Jennifer Haythe, MD, associate professor of cardiology at the Center for Advanced Cardiac Care, associate director of the Adult Pulmonary Hypertension Program, and director of the Cardiac Obstetrics Program at Columbia University Irving Medical Center The Doctor agrees. “A lot of heart disease is preventable,” Dr. Hayes told Health. “If people started taking care of their hearts in their 20s, 30s and 40s, they wouldn’t need to see a cardiologist for most of their lives.”

What can you do to keep your heart healthy? As we age, by doing these eight things regularly, we can have a healthy heart.

Exercise most days of the week

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity exercise each week. You can work out harder in less time, and 75 minutes a week of “vigorous aerobic exercise” or a combination of moderate and high-intensity exercise is also effective.

Additionally, experts recommend spreading your workouts throughout the week, rather than cramming them all into one or two days. If you really can’t find time to exercise, walking after meals every day can be considered exercise.


Maintain a normal blood pressure range

It’s important to know your blood pressure. High blood pressure (medically known as hypertension) has no specific symptoms, but uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, be sure to follow your doctor’s advice. If your doctor prescribes medication for you, be sure to stick to it. It is best to buy a blood pressure monitor to monitor your blood pressure regularly.

blood pressure
blood pressure

Pay attention to your diet

Diet is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle. The American Heart Association (AHA) strongly recommends the DASH diet. The full name of DASH is: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which translates into Chinese as “dietary approaches to prevent hypertension.” This approach was initiated by the United States in 1997 and is based on research by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). diet plan. The DASH diet can lower high blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The DASH diet recommends eating enough vegetables, fruits, and low-fat (or skim) milk to maintain adequate intake of potassium, magnesium, calcium, etc., and minimizing the amount of fat in the diet (especially animal fats rich in saturated fatty acids ). , can effectively lower blood pressure. A 2018 study of 7,447 participants published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that people at high risk for cardiovascular disease who followed the DASH diet developed more cardiovascular disease compared with those who ate a low-fat diet. Lower likelihood of major cardiovascular events. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the DASH diet encourages the following foods:

  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes.
  • Eat more healthy fats. Extra virgin olive oil, avocados, seeds, and nuts are all good sources of healthy fats.
  • Eat in moderation: low-fat or fat-free dairy products, eggs and poultry.
  • Eat fish in moderation. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Consume small to moderate amounts of wine, and limit sugary drinks and candies.
  • Eat less red meat. Eat more fish or poultry.
  • Try to eat as little processed food as possible.

Monitor weight regularly

According to a 2017 study published in the journal Medicine, being underweight may increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. The study defined underweight as a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5kg/m2. In addition to this, being overweight or obese also increases your risk of heart disease. In a 2021 scientific statement from the American Heart Association published in the journal Circulation, the authors wrote that obesity directly contributes to cardiovascular risk factors, including dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Blood pressure and sleep disorders. Obesity also contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease and death from cardiovascular disease.

Do your best to reduce stress

The latest research report from the American Heart Association (AHA) shows that stress has become an increasingly serious health problem, which not only causes damage to our hearts, but also triggers a series of bad lifestyle habits, such as lack of exercise and overeating. These habits can further lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which can skyrocket the risk of heart disease.

In this fast-paced era, each of us may face various pressures: work pressure, life pressure, study pressure… These pressures will not only interfere with our mood, but also affect our physical health. produce irreversible effects.

Experts recommend adding meditation and deep breathing exercises to your daily routine, which can help reduce stress.

don’t smoke

Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict and increases blood pressure. It also raises cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, increasing the risk of heart disease. Studies show that smokers are several times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers.

Smoking also accelerates the process of arteriosclerosis, making originally healthy blood vessels fragile and vulnerable. Once a blood vessel ruptures, it can lead to serious consequences such as myocardial infarction.

Long-term smoking can damage the heart muscle and lead to decreased heart function. Smokers often experience palpitation and shortness of breath, which are related to impaired heart function.

Try not to drink alcohol

A 2017 study published in the American Heart Association’s (AHA) journal Circulation showed that drinking a glass of red wine a day could lower your risk of dying from heart disease, but according to the AHA, there’s no evidence that drinking red wine Will improve your heart health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend no more than one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men.

Ensure enough sleep

In modern society, as the pace of life accelerates and work pressure increases, more and more people begin to pay attention to sleep quality. However, many people do not fully realize the impact sleep has on heart health. In fact, lack of sleep has become one of the important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Lack of sleep may cause the body to secrete stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can increase blood pressure and heart rate and increase the workload on the heart.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that most adults get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Continuously going below this number may harm your heart. Expert research shows: “Poor sleep is associated with high blood pressure and can make it difficult to lose weight.” It is also bad for the heart. Sleep is a good time for your heart to recharge.

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