Heart Heath Tips: Weekly 19th Week 2015


Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and among most ethnicities. Therefore, it makes good sense to make the health of your heart your number one priority. Heart disease is a range of conditions that include coronary artery disease, arrhythmias(heart rhythm problems), and congenital heart defects, or those you are born with. The good news is that four out of five deaths from heart disease could have been prevented. Although you may have some inherited risk factors such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol you can still dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease with lifestyle. Lifestyle changes include diet, exercise, how you handle stress, and the habits you follow day-by-day.

Diet for a Healthy Heart

Fads such as adding wine and chocolate to your diet come and go; but the guidelines set forth by the American Heart Association are simple, tried and true, and will never change. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, fiber, and whole grains in your diet. Eat fish two times a week. Broil or bake the fish rather than frying it. Make sure that no more than 30 percent of the calories you eat come from any fats. Limit salt and partially hydrogenized vegetable oils. Some antioxidants have been shown to help keep your heart healthy. It is better to get those antioxidants directly from the food source such as blueberries. Dark-colored fruits and vegetables pack more of a punch than pills. Make sure the dairy products you consume are either one-percent fat or low fat. The omega-3 fats in walnuts and pistachios are excellent for maintaining heart health. Eat a few every day.

Excercise for a Healthy Heart

Your heart is a muscle. Exercise is essential for optimal heart health. Health experts suggest aerobic exercise such as brisk walking for thirty minutes a day for five days a week. The exercise can be split into two thirty-minute sessions if time is a problem. Strength training increases muscle mass and reduces your percentage of body fat. Use free weights twice a week and focus on the upper and lower body.

Healthy Habits for a Healthy Heart

If you are a smoker, you know you need to quit. It damages the structure and function of the heart by causing atherosclerosis, a condition that causes plaque to build up in the arteries. The good news is that your heart and lungs begin repairing themselves immediately after quitting. After ten years, your risk of heart disease is the same as if you never smoked.

A little alcohol is thought to be good for the heart. It may increase the level of HDL or the good cholesterol in the blood. More than a glass or two a day will be too many calories, elevate your blood pressure, and may cause heart rhythm abnormalities.

Too much stress in your life and too little sleep can increase the damaging hormone cortisol. Aim for seven hours of sleep each night. Learn ways to keep stress away.

Know Your Numbers

Check with your doctor and let numbers guide you for good heart health. The numbers to watch are blood pressure, total cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol) LDL, (bad cholesterol), triglycerides, and body mass index (BMI).

Take care of your heart and it will take care of you.