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5 Ways to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Posted in: Blogs , English

A heart beats approximately 2.5 billion times during an average lifetime. It’s up to you to keep your heart strong with a healthy lifestyle. One out of every four deaths in America is caused by heart disease. Lower your risk of heart disease with these five heart healthy tips. 

1. Stop Smoking

Not only does smoking harm your lungs, it also damages your heart. Smoking more than doubles your risk of developing heart disease. Even if you have smoked for years, it is not too late to reverse the damage. Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure will decrease and your heart rate will slow to a normal rate. Within 12 hours of quitting, your blood’s carbon monoxide levels will return to normal. Within one year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. After five years of not smoking, your risk of stroke is the same as someone who has never smoked. After 15 years, your risk of heart disease is the same as someone who has never smoked. Better health is right around the corner. 

What Can You Do?

Make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the best way for you to quit smoking. Stick with your healthcare provider’s recommendations and stay motivated by the amazing benefits to your health. Check out these tips to get you through your plan to quit smoking

2. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Along with quitting smoking, maintaining a healthy weight plays a large role in heart health. Excess weight can wreak havoc on your heart by increasing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, making your heart work harder to pump blood throughout your body, and building up fat in your arteries. 

What Can You Do?

Talk with your doctor about how you can lose excess weight and keep it off in a healthy way. Follow your doctor’s nutrition and exercise plan. Use a support system and aim for losing no more than half a pound to two pounds per week. To lose about one pound per week, trim your daily caloric intake by 500 calories. Swap junk food for fruit or vegetables, and check out these tips to watch your weight

3. Eat Heart Healthy Foods

While there is no single healthy eating pattern for everyone, everyone can benefit from eating heart healthy foods. A nutritious diet plays a part in managing cholesterol levels and weight. Certain foods are full of nutrients that are good for your heart, like antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and potassium. Eat heart healthy foods to give your beat a boost. 

What Can You Do?

Be sure to eat more fruits and vegetables, 100% whole grain products, and lean meats. Reduce the amount of sugar and red meat you consume and avoid foods that are high in salt and trans fat. Limit your alcohol consumption to keep your blood pressure under control. Snack on nutritious foods like dark green leafy vegetables, beans, walnuts, and berries. 

4. Manage Stress

When you are under emotional stress, your body releases cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones make your heart beat faster and narrow your blood vessels to prepare your body for a fight or flight response. After dealing with the stressor, your body can rest and recover, but if you are continuously stressed, your body does not get that chance to recover. This negative reaction to stress can damage your artery walls and cause high blood pressure. 

What Can You Do?

Visit with your doctor if you need help managing your stress. Yoga is a great way to manage stress through exercise, meditation, and relaxation. Whenever you get stressed, take a step back and a deep breath in. Listen to music, take a walk, or get together with friends. Discover what stress-relieving tactics work best for you. 

5. Exercise Regularly

Exercising helps you maintain a healthy weight, manage stress, and keep your heart strong. You are twice as likely to develop heart disease if you have an inactive lifestyle. Exercise can help manage chronic diseases and decrease your risk of stroke. Even making the choice to take the stairs rather than the elevator can positively impact your heart. The benefits of physical activity are endless. 

What Can You Do?

Start with moderate exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Try walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, basketball, dancing, or any safe physical activity you have always wanted to try. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program to make sure you are physically prepared. 

Learn the facts about heart disease, and discover your personal risk for heart disease with this quiz. Be sure to regularly check your heart health with a medical professional. Physicians at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group The Woodlands specialize in preventive medicine and wellness and can help you get your heart health back on track.   



Making Changes to Avoid Heart Disease

Emotions and Heart Health

Take Action to Beat Heart Disease

Exercise Your Way to a Healthy Heart

Effects of Smoking on Your Heart

Surprising Heart Facts

Health Tip: Set a Date to Lose the Weight

Maintaining Weight Loss

Foods for a Healthy Heart

Inactivity is Bad for Your Heart

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