There are numerous lifestyle factors which may be having a negative effect on your heart. When you fall into bad habits, whether it is smoking, drinking too much alcohol or regularly eating unhealthy foods, this can have a detrimental effect on your heart. Other factors such as managing your stress levels and getting enough sleep will help to keep your heart healthy. Below are a few more simple tips on how to improve your heart’s health.
It’s not a secret that smoking is bad for you – nothing about cigarettes or tobacco are good for a person’s health. However, many people may not know the specifics about the negative effects smoking can have on your health. In terms of your heart, smoking increases the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases – you are far more likely to have a stroke or develop coronary heart disease if you smoke. Furthermore, smoking damages the lining of your arteries, which can lead to angina and heart attacks. The first step towards a healthier heart is giving up smoking.
Put down the salt
Quite simply, the more salt you eat, the worse your blood pressure will be. The reason behind this is that salt makes your body retain water, therefore if you eat too much salt, the excess water stored in your body will raise your blood pressure. High blood pressure puts a strain on your heart and can lead to heart attacks, CHD and strokes; it can also affect other organs and lead to dementia and kidney disease. CHD (coronary heart disease) is the UK’s biggest killer, with one in four men and one in six women dying from the disease. Cutting down on salt is a big step towards a healthier heart.
When we do cardiovascular exercise such as running, cycling or swimming, our blood flow concentrates on areas that are doing more work such as the muscles in our legs and torso. This surge in blood flow increases the volume of blood going towards our heart. With regular cardio, our hearts become used to bigger bursts of blood, and as a result fewer beats are needed, even when we are resting. This takes work off your heart and is why cardio is highly recommended for maintaining a healthy heart. Running, cycling or swimming a few times a week is a great way to maintain your fitness as well as keeping your heart healthy.
Be conscious of your diet
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is also a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy heart. If you minimise your alcohol intake, avoid foods that are high in salt and saturated fat and ensure you eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, this will have a positive impact on your heart. There are numerous benefits to eating healthily; for example, avoiding serious problems such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by stopping smoking, improving your diet and increasing the exercise you do has countless benefits for your heart and other organs. There is no harm in the occasional treat, whether it is a piece of cake or a glass of wine, but be aware of what you put into your body – over time this could have a huge effect on your heart and overall health.