Your heart is the lifeline of your body so it’s no wonder heart health is critically important. Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the U.S. But there are five fairly simple ways to improve your heart health. Since your cardiovascular system supports every aspect of your body, the good news about these ways to improve heart health is they will also boost your full body health too.
As we jump into Heart Health Month this February, evaluate your heart health habits and make adjustments accordingly. Here’s what research shows really makes a difference for your heart:
Be Physically Active
The human body was meant to move so remaining sedentary for most of your day – whether that’s working a desk job or chauffeuring your kids around town – is bad for your heart. Just 30 minutes of exercise daily can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and other chronic health-deteriorating conditions. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to happen at a gym. Walking with your baby, playing soccer with your kids, vigorous housework, going dancing with friends, and many other “fun” activities count as a workout.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy plate at every meal and snack is a great way to maintain heart health. Not only should you hit up the major food categories – lean protein, vegetables, fruits, dairy and whole grains – but you should also incorporate heart-healthy superfoods like those with DHA and EPA Omega-3 fatty acids and plant based fats that also offer other phyto-nutrients. Keep sugar, salt and saturated fats to a minimum.
Smoking is flat out terrible for your heart, arteries and lungs and your entire body. If you’re a smoker, working to quit should be your top heart health priority. Even second hand smoke can damage your heart so find ways to avoid being around smokers as much as possible.
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Studies show the advantages of occasional wine drinking but women should not consume more than one drink per day to sustain heart health.
Maintain a Healthy BMI
Your Body Mass Index is a measurement of your body weight and height. BMI recommendations are usually expressed in a range because all bodies are different and there can be variations within a healthy limit. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to health and BMI takes that into consideration. However, women who remain within their recommended BMI range have fewer incidences of heart disease as well as other life-threatening conditions.
The combination of these five heart health habits can make an extraordinary difference. In fact, studies show that women who can check each of these boxes have up to 80% less risk of heart attack and heart disease.
Your heart is the central spoke of your body’s “wheel” that keeps everything moving and flowing. Following these healthy lifestyle behaviors and improving your heart health can advance every aspect of your full body health. The result: less likelihood of disease, continued youthfulness, and longevity.
Sources: Harvard Health and Newsmax