The heart pumps millions of gallons of blood during the average lifespan. And during all this work, this essential organ gets no rest. It’s therefore important that we care for our hearts so they can last a lifetime. This means avoiding serious health issues like heart disease, stroke, and heart attacks.
While there are many things you can do to promote heart health, the steps don’t have to be complicated. Here are some simple, healthy ways to care for your heart.
Limit Unhealthy Fats
Foods that are high in unhealthy fats can increase the type of cholesterol that clogs arteries, reducing blood flow and increasing the risk of heart disease. Common sources of unhealthy fats are butter, margarine, fatty meats, and heavily processed foods, such as fried foods and packaged cakes or cookies.
Whenever possible, replace these items with healthier fats like vegetable and nut oils, nuts, seeds, and cholesterol-lowering margarine, which can promote heart health.
Reduce Your Salt Intake
Limiting sodium, or salt, can also boost your heart health. Lower salt intake has been shown to help control blood pressure, which is important to reducing your risk of developing heart disease.
High sodium levels are commonly found in packaged foods. When you do enjoy these, stay within the recommended maximum of 2,300 milligrams of sodium by checking nutrition labels on the package. Each food’s label should indicate how many milligrams of sodium are within a serving. You may also consider using an app to keep track of what you eat during the day, helping you track how much salt you’re consuming. And when you cook and enjoy meals at home, limit how much table salt you sprinkle on each portion.
Prioritize Heart-Healthy Foods
A heart-healthy diet isn’t just about avoiding certain foods. Keep your heart working its best by fueling it with nutrient-rich foods. “Good choices for a healthy heart include cereals, bread, and pasta products made from whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, plant-based proteins, lean meat, and low-fat dairy,” advises Isabel Soles Talbert, Clinical Director at YourTown Health.
Being active keeps your heart healthy by temporarily forcing it to work harder, and giving the muscle an important workout. Most adults need at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week. This can be broken out into 30-minute sessions, five days a week.
Keep in mind that exercise doesn’t have to be complex or intense to be effective. Brisk walking, dancing, cycling, swimming, and yard work are a few activities to try. Just be sure that you’re working hard enough to increase your heart rate.
See Your Doctor
The best approach to take when it comes to heart health is a proactive one. Instead of waiting until you need medications or other treatment, you can turn to your doctor now for guidance on how to boost your heart health. For example, our providers can get to know your family and personal health history. This will help our team recommend things like blood work, changes to your diet, and exercises that can help you care for your heart now. Your heart health impacts many aspects of your general health, so there’s never a bad time to take care of it. Whether you’re due for a physical exam or you have a specific health concern, YourTown Health is here for all of your healthcare needs. Find your nearest office by visiting our website.