A healthy heart is an important part of well-being for everyone. Whether you are at risk for cardiovascular disease or not, taking measures to support heart health is essential for preventing cardiovascular disease and supporting a better quality of life as you age. How to keep your cardiovascular system healthy? By focusing on minimizing your heart disease risk factors through healthy lifestyle choices and excellent nutrition.
Heart disease continues to be the number one cause of death in the United States. According to Web MD, 20 percent of all of these deaths can be attributed to smoking. Smoking cigarettes greatly increases a person's risk for coronary artery disease and for having a heart attack, and the more a person smokes, the greater the risk. The number one way to have a healthy cardiovascular system is to not smoke.
A sedentary lifestyle is another major heart disease risk factor. Regular exercise on the other can improve blood circulation, strengthen the heart and cardiovascular system, lower blood pressure and even reduce stress. Exercising will also help to maintain a healthy weight.
Be sure to include some sort of aerobic exercise to keep your cardiovascular system healthy, such as walking, jogging, swimming or anything that gets your heart rate up. Aim for 30 to 60 minutes three to five days a week. Other forms of exercise such as yoga and weight lifting are still beneficial and can be done as well.
Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
Your diet is a major part of maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Diet can help lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure and can nourish the heart and blood vessel walls. Eating right can also help you manage a healthy weight.
What exactly is a heart healthy diet? Think fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants. Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds which supply fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eat fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout or tuna twice a week. Include raw nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil for healthy fats. Also drink plenty of water each day to filter toxins from the bloodstream. What should be minimized or avoided? Red meat, processed foods, rich dairy products and salty foods.
Research has yet to conclude how exactly stress increases your risk for heart disease, but chronic stress may play a role in increasing risk factors, such as blood pressure, blood cholesterol levels and physical activity. Managing stress and improving psychological well-being is the final facet of keeping your cardiovascular system healthy. Exercising is a way to relieve stress. Simply doing deep breathing exercises for 10 to 20 minutes every morning or meditating can help to reduce stress and improve oxygen-flow to the heart. Other ways to manage stress include doing yoga, listening to calming music and visiting with friends or family.
Knowing how to keep your cardiovascular system healthy is a great way to manage heart health through your life. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, eating well and making healthy lifestyle choices can help with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and reducing your risk of heart disease. No matter what your current state of health, you do have the ability to either improve or maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
WebMD. Smoking and Heart Disease. https://www.webmd.com/smoking-cessation/quit-smoking-heart
MedicineNet. Heart Failure: Exercise for a Healthy Heart. https://www.medicinenet.com/fitness_exercise_for_a_healthy_heart/article.htm
American Heart Association. Stress and Heart Disease. https://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4750
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