Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy
Over the average lifetime, the heart beats around 2.5 billion times. As it does it pushes millions of gallons of blood all over the body, which carries vital oxygen, hormones and nutrients to tissues and removes carbon dioxide and waste products from them. Whatever age you are, keeping your heart healthy is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health. Here are 5 ways to keep yours in check.
Eat your omegas
Omegas are important dietary fats that should be consumed as part of a healthy, balanced diet but it’s omega-3 you should be paying attention to when it comes to your heart health. Classified as polyunsaturated fats, there are three types of omega-3 to know about: long-chain forms eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which can be found in fish, fish oil, algae and krill and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a short-chain form found in plant sources like avocado, flaxseed and nuts. While they are all great and should be included as part of a healthy and varied diet, it's important to make sure you get enough intake from supplements as well as dietary sources because the body can only use long-chain omega-3s; the other forms it has to convert ALA into EPA and then into DHA. As well as supporting a host of other bodily processes, omega-3s reduce inflammation and promote good circulation, which is essential for maintaining good heart health. to get your fill, stock up on fatty fish like salmon and cold pressed olive oil, both of which are excellent sources and should be consumed regularly as part of your weekly diet.
Look after your teeth
It may seem unlikely but keeping your oral health in check can play a big part in keeping your heart healthy as it increases the likelihood of a bacterial infection. Too much bad bacteria can then enter your bloodstream and cause plaque to build up around your arteries. It can also affect your heart valves and inflammation in your blood vessels. Generally speaking, it’s sensible to foster good dental hygiene habits anyway as good dental health is a good indication of overall health and a window into what’s going on in the rest of your body. To keep on top of it, make sure you’re brushing twice daily for at least two minutes at a time, as well as flossing every day to reduce the risk of bacteria building up.
Move every day
According to the British Heart Foundation, making time to move every day is an important way to maintain good heart heath, ideally your daily increments should add up to 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise every week, which roughly means 20 minutes a day of some form of exercise, whether that’s walking, cycling or running. Whatever you do end up doing will be good news for your heart, as it improves your muscles' ability to pull oxygen from your blood, reducing the need for your heart to do extra work. Exercise is also a well know stress reliever and the less stressed you feel, the less burden is put on your heart and the lower your blood pressure.
Eat more fibre
Getting enough fibre in your daily diet isn’t just important for gut health, experts believe it’s crucial for warding off heart disease too. That’s because it can help to lower levels of bad cholesterol which have been linked to poor heart health, as well as reducing blood pressure and inflammation that can put extra strain on the heart. Research has also found that those who follow a high fibre diet have a healthier diet all round and are less inclined to have conditions that can lead to conditions such as diabetes. To make sure you’re eating enough fibre, look to introduce more beans, oats and flaxseed in your diet, or supplement your daily intake with a product like Workshop’s Gut Cleansing Formula which contains a blend of 12 beneficial soluble and insoluble fibres.
Reduce your stress levels
Elevated cortisol levels, which is what occurs when you experience long-term, chronic stress, can have a detrimental effect on your heart health by increasing blood cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar amongst other things. All of these are big risk factors for heart disease and should be avoided if you can. More stress in your life is also likely to have a knock-on effect on creating bad habits, as the more stressed you are, the more likely you are to indulge in fatty comfort foods or more alcohol. On top of that, even minor stress can reduce proper blood flow to the heart which means it can be harder to get an adequate supply of oxygen through.