It's February and that means it's Heart Health Awareness month! Our hearts are one of the most important organs in our bodies, being the organ that provides blood to all your organs. Without it, oxygen couldn't get from your lungs to your brain, nutrients from your stomach to your body, and so on! So with that established, let's look at ways you can keep your heart healthy!
(all tips researched and provided by the Cleaveland Health Clinic)
1) Avoid Trans Fats, Eat Healthy Fats
While you may be thinking, aren't all fats unhealthy? This is actually a myth, only Trans Fats are the bad fats. They lead to raising your LDL cholesterol levels, which is the bad kind that clogs arteries. Find foods that say 0% Trans Fats, and eat other fatty foods. HDL is the good cholesterol and improves blood flow. Look up foods that raise your HDL levels to help your heart!
2) Don't sit too long.
Studies have shown that sitting for extended periods of time is harmful to your health. Of 800,000 observed people, the people who sat the most had a 147% increase in cardiovascular problems and a 90% increase in death. So what can you do to reduce your chances of risk? Experts say 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous exercise per week will drastically reduce health risks, also investing in a standing desk or taking short walks throughout the work day will also help.
3) Maintain Good Dental Hygiene.
Now this one most people wouldn't think to associate with Heart Health, but poor dental hygiene breeds bacteria in your mouth, and that bacteria can move into the blood stream and increase your chances for heart disease and stroke! Always floss and brush your teeth daily to combat gum disease.
4) Proper Sleep.
We all know sleep is important, but studies have shown us that of 3,000 people who get under 6 hours of sleep became about twice as likely for heart attacks and strokes. Not sleeping interrupts your bodies natural processes and can lead to heart problems. Shoot for 7-8 hours of sleep each night, and see a sleep specialist if you are having troubles like insomnia or apnea.
5) Avoid Smoking and 2nd Hand Smoking.
It's no secret that tobacco products lead to many conditions like heart failure, lung cancer, and many more. However, did you know that 2nd hand smoke is just as harmful to you? Exposure to tobacco smoke contributes to 34,000 heart disease deaths and 7,300 lung cancer deaths. Avoid smoking areas, and make sure to let your smoking families and friends know not to smoke around you. If you personally smoke, then there are many methods available to quit, nicotine patches, gum, and E-cigarettes/Vape mods are far cleaner options for your body to help wean you off of harmful tobacco products.