Your heart pumps around 2,000 gallons of blood daily to deliver oxygen and essential nutrients to organs and cells throughout your body. This is enormous work for a muscle about the size of your fist! Taking care of your heart is extremely important- the easier you make it for your heart to do its job, the longer you may live. Below are some ways that you can focus on your heart health.
Make Small Changes Over Time
Making small heart health lifestyle changes over time can drastically reduce heart disease risk, which ranks number one as the cause of death among women and men in the United States. When making changes, you should start out slow so that you aren’t overwhelmed. Making small, mindful decisions about how much you exercise and what you eat can help reduce the amount of work your heart has to do, lowering your risk of developing hypertension, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.
Make Slow Changes
Eating a high sodium and sugar diet can cause damage to your arteries. Damaged arteries make the heart work even harder to pump blood. Adding more vegetables and fruits can be an excellent first step to making dietary changes. Trying to completely overhaul your diet and giving up every extra thing can add more stress to your life and make it harder to stick to your long-term goals.
Move Your Body More
Not getting enough exercise can increase the risk of developing diseases that can lead to heart disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Exercising regularly strengthens your heart and allows your muscles to extract oxygen from your blood more efficiently. Starting slow is the best way to go, especially if you have never worked out before. Walking is one of the best things that you can do when you are first starting out.
Adapt a Healthy Heart Diet
Two diets are very popular for supporting heart health: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The DASH diet encourages more low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. The Mediterranean diet encourages more monounsaturated fats like fish and olive oil, plenty of vegetables and fruits, nuts, legumes, seeds, and whole grains. You don’t have to follow a specific diet to increase your health- making sure you are eating enough vegetables, good quality meats, and fruits alone can help improve your heart health.
Focus on Adding
Instead of removing all treats from your diet, add one more vegetable to your plate at every meal. Vegetable nutrients can reduce cholesterol and blood pressure while allowing your taste buds to get used to new tastes. If you’re trying to follow a budget, purchasing frozen vegetables can save you money and make it easier to eat more vegetables. They are often just as nutritious as fresh vegetables and are much more convenient for some people since they don’t have to worry about them going bad in the refrigerator.
Consult a Knowledgeable Doctor
If you have any health or wellness concerns, schedule an appointment with Dr. Leo. Whether you’ve been working on improving your heart health for a while or have concerns, Dr. Leo will work with you to develop a plan.
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