Maintain a strong and healthy heart and nearly every other aspect of health tends to follow. When you make the types of changes that benefit your cardiovascular system, you are also likely to be leaner, more energetic and less prone to other forms of chronic disease. Overall, you’ll look better, feel better, and be healthier both now and in the years to come. While there are seemingly endless list of ways we can all live healthier, there are a standard few that are proven to have a dramatic impact. So, whether health is always a main area of focus or this is a brand new journey, here are some key points of focus.
Eating for Optimal Heart Health
Nutrition and digestion are connected to nearly every single aspect of our health. When you eat clean and allow your body to absorb the right kinds of nutrients, everything functions more efficiently, including your cardiovascular system. Ideally, a healthy diet should focus on factors such as hydration with at least 8 glasses of water daily, an intake of lean meats and sources of protein, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats. On the other hand, a heart healthy diet also means limiting or avoiding the bad stuff like prepackaged and processed foods, saturated or trans fats, sugar, and salt.
Living for Optimal Heart Health
General lifestyle factors are another area of opportunity for overall health improvement. Stress, for instance, can be an underlying contributor that exacerbates many health concerns and that promotes inflammation. Finding ways to destress and unwind is a crucial component to maintaining not only physical wellbeing, but mental health as well. This can be any activity that you find relaxing or enjoyable or activities like meditation to calm the mind.
An additional lifestyle factor to consider is smoking. Overall, tobacco use is one of the worst things you can do for your health. If you are a smoker, find resources available to help you quit, such as the Commit to Quit Tobacco Cessation program at CIS.
Moving for Optimal Heart Health
Regular physical activity is necessary to keep the body and heart strong, ward off illness and disease, and to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is linked to nearly every chronic health condition, including heart attack, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease. While any movement is better than none, begin with a goal to meet at least 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. This can be accomplished in larger chunks, or in as little as 30 minutes per day for 5 days per week.
Fortunately, each of these three steps tends to go hand-in-hand. Eat healthier, and you’ll have more energy for exercising, or vice versa. In the end, it all adds up to a stronger, healthier heart.
If you have concerns regarding your own heart health, contact Cardiovascular Institute of the South and request an appointment with any one of our highly-skilled cardiologists.