Taking care of ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to live a long, healthy life. And, the more we take care of our hearts, the more they will take care of us. Heart health is extremely important in preventing heart disease, which can include stroke and heart attack. Regardless of your age, gender or race, there are some very simple things you can do to take care of your heart and keep it ticking for years to come.
- Be Active: Staying active is tremendously beneficial to keeping your heart strong and healthy. You might assume that this means hitting the gym every day for long protracted periods of time, but it only takes 30 minutes of activity each day to reduce risk of heart disease. Regular activity helps the body stay strong and function properly.
- Enjoy Healthy Fats: Consuming healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (specifically Omega-3s), while limiting unhealthy fats (saturated and trans fats) will help to boost your good cholesterol and reduce your overall cholesterol. When you have high cholesterol, it can cause build up up in the walls of your arteries, which leads to heart disease.
- Watch your Sugar and Salt Intake: Decreasing your sugar and salt intake can have a tremendous impact on your heart health. Consuming too much sugar leads to high levels of sugar in your blood…a precursor to diabetes and heart disease. Consuming to much salt (or sodium) can lead to high blood pressure, another precursor to heart disease. Aim to have no more than 20 to 30 grams of added sugar and no more than 2,500mg of sodium per day.
- Load up on Fiber: Consuming a minimum of 25 grams of fiber a day is a must for a healthy heart. Although it is always advisable to get nutrients and fiber directly from food sources, such as vegetables, fruit and whole grains, there are times when consuming the daily recommended intake isn’t feasible. In this case, eating high-fiber bars (such as GNU bars) is a great way to get a whopping dose.
- Don’t Smoke: Smoking is a leading factor of heart disease. Smoking increases blood pressure and increases the tendency for blood to clot. As a result, if you smoke, seriously consider quitting or cutting back to diminish your risk.
How are you keeping your heart healthy?