The purpose of American Heart Month in February is to raise awareness about heart disease and help people reduce their risk of heart attacks, strokes, and more. Did you know that heart disease causes 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S.? While this is an alarming statistic, there are many steps you can take to reduce your risk. A few simple lifestyle changes can drastically benefit your heart health! Check out these heart-healthy tips, and share your knowledge with your family and friends.
Focus On Your Diet
To maximize your heart health, focus on changing some of your dietary habits. Now, this certainly doesn’t mean eliminating all pleasurable foods as a whole. The key is moderation! Did you know that if the entire U.S. population reduced their average salt intake by just half a teaspoon daily, it would significantly decrease the number of people who develop coronary heart disease every year? With this in mind, focus on incorporating foods like fatty fish, leafy greens, and beans into your diet. Additionally, choose low sodium options when available.
Working a 9 to 5 desk job unfortunately is the harsh reality for many people. However, the importance of simply standing up and doing a short walk around your home or office cannot be overlooked. The American Heart Association has found that sitting for extended periods of time can shorten your lifespan due to its impacts on blood fats and blood sugar. The task at hand is simple: stand up and move throughout the day!
Maintain Good Dental Hygiene
While this comes as a surprise to many, dental hygiene can be an indication of your overall health, particularly that of your heart. In fact, those with gum disease often have the same risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth associated with gum disease can move into the bloodstream. In turn, this can elevate C-reactive proteins, causing inflammation in blood vessels. The simple solution? Brushing and flossing your teeth daily.
Catch Some Z’s
One of the simplest ways you can help your heart is by getting enough sleep. Studies show that shortened sleep duration, which is less than 6 hours, is linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Low amounts of sleep can worsen hypertension, impact C-reactive protein, and increase insulin resistance, all of which are risk factors for heart disease. With that being said, turn off Netflix, put down the cellphone, and try to get a couple of extra hours of sleep each night.
It’s incredibly important to familiarize yourself with the risks of heart disease, and to discover simple lifestyle changes you can make to lower those risks. With these heart-healthy tips, you’ll be on the path to a healthier lifestyle in no time.
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