It delivers life sustaining oxygen throughout the body. Your heart must be protected to be able to continue to pump blood to other vital organs and if you take these steps now to keep your heart healthy, you will live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.
The most important thing you can do for your heart is exercise. Cardiovascular exercise will strengthen the heart and keep it from having to work too hard. Remember, the heart is a muscle and will benefit from training in the same way that an athlete lifts weights to build muscle. The heart rate of people who exercise regularly is significantly lower than those who do not exercise. Cardio work will also help keep the blood flowing throughout your body. Doctors recommend a half hour of activity at least five days per week.
Eating right is another way to keep your heart healthy. A heart healthy diet should include lean cuts of meat and lots of fruits and vegetables. It is important to limit your daily intake of calories from fat to less than 30% of the total calories consumed in a day. The American Heart Association also advises that you limit the amount of sodium to less than 2400 milligrams a day and limit the amount of saturated fat to less than 7% of your daily calories.
A diet rich in whole grains is best for the heart. The fiber from the whole grains will help control blood pressure. Choose whole wheat bread instead of white and brown rice instead of white rice. Doughnuts, muffins and biscuits should be avoided. The heart healthy diet should also use margarine instead of butter and olive oil in place of vegetable oil.
Stress will raise your risk for a heart attack, so it is important to find ways to deal with stress to keep your heart healthy. Two of the best ways to combat stress are to sleep regularly and drink alcohol in moderation. Learning some relaxation techniques can also be helpful. Deep breathing and massage are two excellent ways to work through the stress that could be straining your heart. Some people also find yoga and biofeedback very helpful in reducing stress.
Another factor that will increase your risk for a heart attack is smoking. In addition to increasing your risk for lung cancer, smoking can clog the arteries that supply blood to the heart and damage the heart muscle. Research shows that over 200,000 people die every year from heart problems that were brought on by cigarette smoking.
Alcohol and drug abuse can also damage your heart. You have probably heard of a case where an otherwise healthy person suffered a heart attack induced by the use of cocaine. A recent study by the American Heart Association revealed that 80% of the cocaine users who had heart attacks had no earlier history of heart disease. As for alcohol, there are studies which suggest a glass of red wine or beer is good for the heart but it must be pointed out that the alcohol must be consumed in moderation. Chronic alcohol abuse will cause the heart to become enlarged and weaken the muscle.Isnare