How to support a healthy heart: Follow these heart health tips
November 3, 2022
Whether you’re running a marathon, cooking dinner or sunk into the deepest of sleeps, your heart is on duty, pumping away.
At times it may be pumping faster than others, but it’s pumping away nonetheless, moving blood through your veins, arteries and capillaries to deliver nutrients, oxygen and antibodies or take away waste products.
As the star of your circulatory system, heart health is pretty important and it’s never too early to think about supporting it.
The good news is that many lifestyle choices, including your diet, can go a long way to putting you on the path to supporting your heart. Here are some simple tips.
At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical exercise is recommended to keep your heart healthy. But you don’t have to take up long-distance running to make a difference. Simply going for a daily walk at a brisk pace will help protect your heart, too.
And it’s OK to start small. Instead of plopping on the couch for that afternoon break, take a leisurely stroll around the block as a first step. Chances are more than just your heart will benefit from the fresh air, vitamin D and exposure to the great outdoors.
It’s shocking we still have to say this, but here we are: You shouldn’t smoke. Smoking damages blood vessels, which can lead to heart disease. And research indicates vaping or using e-cigarettes is also harmful to your heart and lungs.
More than 40 million adults in the U.S. and Canada are cigarette smokers, according to government statistics, which also show that thousands of teens start lighting up each day. And recent statistics show that more than 15 million adults and teens in the U.S. and Canada have at least tried e-cigarettes with many vaping regularly. Do your heart a favor and try not to be one of them.
A systematic review and meta-analysis of a collection of studies revealed that fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
The World Health Organization recommends adults consume five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Research shows most adults fall far short of this goal. A good rule of thumb to make sure you’re getting enough is to fill half your plate with colorful produce at each meal.
Omega-3s are important for supporting healthy blood flow and helping support already-normal blood pressure. They occur naturally in fatty fish like salmon, anchovies, white fish and sardines as well as in many seeds and nuts.
The American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week. Research has shown that consuming a combination of EPA and DHA fatty acids may help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease (although the FDA considers the evidence inconsistent and inconclusive).
Eating foods with a lot of sugar, salt and saturated fat can increase your risk for heart disease. Try to avoid overly processed foods or fast foods and opt for whole foods instead.
Choose whole grain pasta over those made from white flour. Or, even better, try your favorite sauces over spaghetti squash or use a kitchen gadget to turn your zucchini, carrots or other vegetables into spirals for a healthier noodle-like base.
And pumping up the flavor with a tablespoon of fresh-chopped herbs or a few extra pinches of spices and seasoning can eliminate the need for heavy sauces, dressings or gravies. Garlic, onions and leeks are also packed with flavor and can bring your meals up a level. They also contain allicin, which has the added benefit of supporting your cardiovascular system!
All these tips can help you lead a healthier lifestyle to support your heart, but you can also consider supplements that are specifically formulated to support heart health, especially if you know you struggle to get the nutrients you need from your regular diet.
Omega-3 supplements are a great place to start, but you can also look at ones that deliver coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), garlic or nutrients that support cholesterol health. Sometimes a few of the supplements will come grouped together in a convenient heart health package. Find what works for you and add it to your daily routine to start giving your heart health regular support.
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