Most people know that eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise is good for your heart, but have you ever wondered what else you can do to keep your heart in good working condition? With a little education and a lot of dedication, adopting these daily habits can go a long way in keeping your heart strong and healthy.
Eat Healthy Fats
Fats are an important part of a well-balanced diet. We need a certain amount of polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats, and even a limited amount of saturated fats, but not trans-fat. Trans-fat can clog your arteriesby raising bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering good cholesterol levels (HDL), increasing your risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke. So, what exactly are trans-fats and why are they bad for your health? They are mostly artificially produced fats that are often used to add flavor to packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarine and fried foods. Limit your intake of these items and try to stick to a diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish and limit sugars, sodium and processed and red meats.
Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Dental health is a good indication of overall health, including your heart! It has also been shown that bacteria in the mouth that is involved in the development of gum disease can move into the bloodstream and cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. In fact, a recent studyfound that there was a moderate correlation between tooth loss (a measure of poor oral health) and coronary heart disease. Floss and brush your teeth daily to prevent a buildup of bacteria-laden plaque.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke
It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health, but even just being around smoke can have major consequences. According to the CDC, breathing secondhand smoke interferes with the normal functioning of the heart, blood and vascular system. The chemicals emitted from cigarette smoke can promote the development of plaque buildup in the arteries. Secondhand smoke is toxic. Avoid being exposed to it as much as possible.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is essential to keep your mind, body and heart healthy. Research suggests that adults who sleep less than seven hours each night are more likely to report health problems, including heart attack, asthma and depression. Make sleep a priority and try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night.
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