Unfortunately, we can’t stay young forever. By the time many of us realize we’re ‘getting on a bit’, some damage has already been done to our health. By vowing to take care of your overall health now, and especially your heart health, you’ll live a longer, better quality life with fewer healthcare costs in the long run. Living a healthy lifestyle does not have to equal ‘boring’.
Here are 12 things to do everyday for your heart health:
Brush twice a day.
Brush teeth for two minutes, but do not brush so hard you wear your enamel down.
Floss at least once a day to get rid of debris between the teeth.
Using mouthwash to rinse away any leftover bacteria and freshen your breath.
Use a tongue scraper. Brushing your tongue is good, but you may sometimes just move around the bacteria without getting rid of it.
- Eat Healthy Fats
Healthy fats include foods like nuts, peanut butter, and oily fish. Avoid trans fats at all costs – you typically find trans fats in processed food. Trans fats increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. Consuming trans fats regularly makes you more susceptible to problems. Become comfortable reading nutritional labels before buying products to ensure you avoid foods containing trans fats.
- Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Oral bacteria associated with gum disease can travel through the bloodstream and increase your risk of heart disease. Poor dental hygiene can lead to heart disease. It isn’t about vanity – looking after your teeth is key for overall health. Make sure you’re doing the following:
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Prioritize your sleep. You have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease if you don’t get sleep. It can be tempting to burn the candle at both ends if you have goals you want to achieve, but people who sleep fewer than 6 hours a night are twice as likely to have a stroke or heart attack compared to people who sleep 6 to 8 hours a night. Aiming for 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night is ideal. Implement a consistent bedtime routine. Going to bed at the same time each night is a great start.
- Avoid Sitting Down For Too Long
Staying seated for a long time is bad for your health regardless of how much exercise you do when you’re not sitting down. Studies find a potential 147% increased risk of cardiovascular events in individuals who sit for hours at a time. Incorporate easy movements into your day. It doesn’t have to feel like exercise. For instance, get up every half an hour and walk around, take the stairs, and park your car further away from the door.
- Avoid Secondhand Smoke (And Smoking, Obviously)
If you’re a smoker, quit now. Smoking has a devastating impact on your health and the health of those around you. The risk of health problems is 25-30% higher for those exposed to secondhand smoke at home or at work.
- Get The Right Nutrients
It goes without saying you should get the right nutrients for your heart health. Make sure you’re eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and when necessary, look into supplements to support your nutrient needs. However, consult with your doctor before you start taking a supplement.
- Find Ways To Take The Edge off Stressful Days
Stress has physical effects – it is not just a mental problem. Make time to unwind each day. Activities to unwind may include knitting, coloring, and/or reading. Try to do something where you can get lost in the moment rather than thinking. If you turn to a television program to unwind, remember screentime can impact your ability to fall asleep.
- Eat Fish
Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can ward off heart disease. Incorporate more fish in your diet while reducing red meats. A diet high in red meat has been associated with many different health issues.
- Laugh More
It seems so easy to tell somebody to laugh more, but finding things to laugh about may not be that easy for some. Try not to take yourself so seriously, read funny books, watch funny films, and spend time with people who make you laugh. Laughter will lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation in your arteries, and raise your levels of good cholesterol.
- Exercise Regularly
Exercising regularly in addition to making sure you’re moving throughout the day. All exercise doesn’t have to be vigorous for results. Activities like yoga have the potential to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Doing some exercise in the morning can set you up for a great day, helping you to feel happier and more focused. Try it!
- Reduce Your Intake of Processed Foods and Salt
Reduce your intake of processed foods and excess salt. Again, this means you will need to get comfortable with reading nutritional labels. It can be difficult to know what’s good for you these days, as marketing can be clever and lead people to believe something is healthy when it isn’t. Be smart and do your research.
- Enjoy a Good Cup of Tea
What could be better than starting your day and even your routine to unwind with a good cup of tea? There’s tea for every occasion; English breakfast tea, herbal tea, matcha tea, green tea, and more. According to the American Heart Association, drinking one to three cups of tea per day may help lower your risk of heart problems. Try to replace some of your coffee breaks with tea – just be aware that tea still contains caffeine, and you should monitor your intake both for health purposes and to make sure you can sleep at night.