In ancient Greek times, philosophers believed that our hearts were linked to our strongest emotions, such as love. The Romans even believed there was a vein that ran from our fourth finger to our hearts. While we now know this isn’t true, it’s still why we wear our wedding bands on that finger. And even though we no longer believe that the heart is the muscle of love, there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate it.
Every February, we honor the heart. It is a miraculous muscle that maintains blood flow through the body and ensures oxygen and important nutrients reach all the right organs. If you want to keep your heart doing its jobs properly through every stage of life, there are a few steps you can take to make sure heart health is a top priority.
5 Heart Healthy Tips
Incorporating the five tips below into your daily lifestyle can help keep your heart healthy for years to come.
1. Add healthy fats to your diet and eliminate trans fats.
Healthy fats like saturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats are an essential part of your diet. Trans fat, on the other hand, is known to increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lower your good cholesterol levels (HDL), thereby clogging your arteries. You can find them in products that contain industry-produced fats like snack foods, margarine, fried fast food and packaged baked goods. Be sure to read the labels on your food and look for ingredients like partially-hydrogenated oils. Also, look for 0 percent trans fat on the nutritional facts chart on packaged products.
2. Get plenty of sleep.
A lack of sleep increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, regardless of other steps you’re taking toward heart health. Researchers believe that inefficient sleep causes disturbances in health conditions and biological processes, such as inflammation and blood pressure. To make sure your heart stays healthy, get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, seek medical treatment, as the condition is linked to arrhythmias and heart disease.
3. Get up and stretch.
According to research, sitting for long periods of time can compromise your metabolic health. While you may spend time exercising several times each week, this excess sedentariness can undo all that for your heart. It can also increase the possibility of deep vein thrombosis. If you want to help combat this, try to move more throughout the day. Get up and walk to another room every 15 minutes. Park farther away in the parking lot. And, try to get some level of exercise every day.
4. Practice good dental hygiene.
If you have periodontal disease, your risk for heart disease increases. The bacteria in your mouth that contribute to this gum disease can enter the blood stream, thereby reaching your heart. This bacteria can also elevate certain proteins that are markers for inflammation in the blood vessels, increasing your risk for heart disease and stroke. Preventing gum disease is simple: floss and brush your teeth every day. Also, get a dental check-up every six months so your dentist can check for any signs of periodontal disease and suggest next steps.
5. Stay away from secondhand smoke.
We’ve known for years that smoking is bad for your health. However, studies show that cardiovascular disease is higher for those who are exposed to secondhand smoke regularly. In fact, exposure to tobacco causes about 34,000 heart disease related deaths every year among nonsmokers. If you have loved ones who smoke, be firm with them that you do not want to be around smoke. Ask them to step outside if they need to smoke while they’re with you.
Enjoy Heart Health All Year Long at Garden Plaza
At Garden Plaza, we want you to live a long, vibrant and healthy life. That’s why we offer services and amenities that give you the freedom to focus on your well-being. Because we offer a maintenance-free lifestyle with housekeeping and apartment maintenance, you have more time to enjoy the finer things in life, such as joining social activities, going on long dreamed-of adventures or learning new hobbies. You can also take part in our dynamic schedule of events that include wellness activities to get your heart pumping every day.
Are you ready to see how life at Garden Plaza can help you maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle? Contact our team today.
This content is for educational purposes only and does not serve as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult your healthcare provider. If you’re experiencing an emergency, please dial 911.