This month we are diving into heart health by taking a look at three great ways for you to remain heart-healthy. Heart disease is the number one cause of death among women and men claiming approximately one million lives each year. When plaque builds along the coronary arteries it can restrict flow to the heart leading to serious heart conditions such as heart attack and stroke.
- Stop Smoking. While it’s common knowledge that smoking has a negative impact on your lungs many people don’t realize that it also greatly increases your risk of heart disease. Research has shown that smoking will tighten your arteries and increase your heart rate, all of which puts increased stress on your heart. There are also many dangerous chemicals in cigarettes, like tar and carbon monoxide, that increase the build-up of plaque along the walls of arteries.
- Heart-Healthy Exercises. Aerobics and resistance training are the most important heart-healthy exercises. Aerobics, like brisk walking, running, swimming, cycling and tennis improve circulation resulting in lowered blood pressure and heart rate. Resistance training helps to reduce fat and create a leaner muscle mass. Hopkins Medicine found that a combination of aerobic and resistance training helps to raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Choose Healthier Options. A diet that is high in sodium has been found to store increased water in your body and raise your blood pressure causing a strain on your heart and arteries. Foods high in fat caused a fatty plaque to build up along the walls of your arteries and restrict blood flow to your heart. However, not all fats are bad Polysaturated, Monosaturated and Omega-3 Fatty Acids are often found in things like Olive Oil, Salmon, and Chia seeds. These fats help to reduce the number of triglycerides, or fat, found in your blood and reduce the risk of developing plaque build-up.