5 Ideas for a Healthy Heart & Happy Life

With today’s hustle and bustle lifestyle, we often forget to stop and think about what it is our hearts need to be healthy. Drinking plenty of water, getting exercise, and a good night’s sleep are a good start, but often are not enough. So what can you do for your heart? Here are a few tips to get started!

  1. Eat Healthier. Reading and understanding what you are consuming is crucial to the beginnings of a healthy body and heart. Foods full of sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, trans fats, and saturated fats take your body longer to process. Frozen meals, fast-food, and boxed meals are often full of sodium, saturated fats, and processed foods. Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes (such as beans and lentils). Replace white bread with whole wheat bread; try whole grain pasta. Turning your diet around can make a huge difference in the long haul.

  2. Stress Management. Stress is one of the biggest problems we face daily. High stress levels pave the way to cardiovascular problems. With heart disease being the number one killer for men and women in the U.S.[1], it is vital to ensure we keep stress levels at a minimum. While it’s difficult to get rid of stress altogether, we can make changes to limit stress. Here are a few tips to help manage stress:

  3. Try Meditation. Learning to meditate, or do yoga, can be very relaxing not only for our minds, but also for our bodies. Meditation can help you let go and be in the present moment. Learning to touch base with your breath can be a great tool. You can use these techniques on a daily basis. Harsh deadline on your mind? Close your eyes and breathe. Count to ten. Try deep, slow breathing for a few minutes. Learning to manage breathing is very therapeutic for many people. Learning what therapeutic techniques work for you is important to keep stress levels manageable.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Often times we forget that our peers can be our most useful (and helpful) resource. Even just asking someone to run the mail to the post office for you can be helpful. Let family and friends help. Ask family members to help cook dinner or run the kids to soccer practice.

  5. Remember that you are the star of your life. It is important to take care of you first. Make sure you’re drinking enough water, getting plenty of sunlight when it’s possible and getting the recommended amount of sleep. These three factors can make or break our ability to adapt to stress.

  6. Get Active! Exercise is naturally therapeutic. “Couch potatoes have increased cardiovascular disease risk, so make sure you get regular exercise.”

  7. Try supplements that may support heart health:

  8. CoQ10 – “a powerful antioxidant.” [2]

  9. Fish Oil – “may reduce the risk of heart attack and heart disease.” [3]

  10. Folic Acid – “Taking folic acid may reduce blood levels of homocysteine.”[4]

  11. Get regular check-ups with your doctor, especially if heart disease or any heart-related issues runs in your family. Have your doctor check cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure regularly.

  12. Tried and True: Avoid smoking at all costs. Smokers are 2 to 4 times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than nonsmokers.[5]

Remember, a healthy heart makes a happy life.

[1] Source: CDC http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

[2] Source: 2016 Healthnotes, Inc.

[3] Source: 2016 Healthnotes, Inc.

[4] Source: 2016 Healthnotes, Inc.

[5] Source: WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/quit-smoking-heart

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