More Americans are suffering from heart disease, strokes and other cardiovascular disease than ever before. However, there are some simple healthy lifestyle changes that you and your family can incorporate to look after your heart.
Some life hacks to keep your ticker happy and healthy:
Keep track of your blood pressure at home
Many people have high blood pressure and don’t even know it. If left untreated, high blood pressure can wreak havoc on arteries and vital organs throughout the body. Thankfully, at-home monitors are relatively inexpensive, easily accessible and user-friendly. Keep in mind that external factors like exercise, stress and medication can increase your blood pressure. Know your numbers and what they mean. Your family physician can help.
It is recommended to get 30 minutes of cardio a day for heart health. Can’t get to the gym? That’s OK – try incorporating at least 10,000 steps into your day. Get a pedometer or fitness tracker, or download an app that tracks and measures your steps throughout the day. Make it fun by gardening, coordinating activities with your family at home, or taking the dog for a walk after work. (Keep Fido heart-healthy, too!)
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Harvey Hahn, MD, cardiologist for Kettering Health Medical Group, says that, in addition to not smoking, eating a healthier diet of more fruits and vegetables, less processed foods, and less meat are the most important things you can do for heart health.
"You can’t tell people to completely change their diet," explained Hahn. "That usually lasts about a week."
Instead, he suggests baby steps such as eating one more fruit or vegetable a day, cutting out soda and fast food, or perhaps incorporating a "meatless Monday" routine.
Try substituting these healthier choices into your diet - your heart will thank you for it:
Oatmeal: Oats are high in omega-3 fatty acids, folate and potassium and will lower cholesterol.
Salmon: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, salmon can reduce blood pressure and blood clotting.
Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, strawberries contain anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce risk of heart disease.
Avocado: Allows for the absorption of beta-carotene and lycopene, which are essential for heart health.
Oranges: Contain cholesterol-fighting fiber pectin, as well as potassium, which helps control blood pressure.
Gain peace of mind
Even if you are eating healthy, not smoking, and exercising frequently, stress can increase your vulnerability to heart disease. Take time for you, get plenty of rest, learn to mediate or take up yoga, and laugh more. A happy life can lead to a healthier heart.
Are you at risk for heart disease? Find out more by talking to your physician or cardiologist.
Kettering Health Medical Group cardiologists are Ohio’s top choice for heart care. Our cardiovascular experts treat all forms of heart disease and provide the most advanced comprehensive cardiovascular care to help you maintain a healthy and active life.
Kettering Health Medical Group Cardiovascular Care offers 28 conveniently located offices and more than 50 highly skilled cardiovascular specialists throughout the greater Dayton area. Make an appointment with a Kettering Health Medical Group cardiovascular specialist by visiting www.myheartohio.org today.