Everyone knows it’s important to pursue good heart health, yet too many people ignore it. Perhaps they think that maintaining or improving their heart health is difficult. But your doctor will tell you that this isn’t necessarily the case. Before you start to develop a serious heart condition, such as heart disease, there are ways to take control of your heart health. Here are five ways you can improve your heart health.
1. Commit to Healthy Eating Habits
If you find yourself snacking on junk food, loading up on soda (even diet soda) or avoiding whole grains, it’s time to re-evaluate your diet. Avoid trans fats at all costs — they clog the arteries, raise bad cholesterol and diminish good cholesterol levels – is a great way to start. Processed foods, packaged baked goods, fried fast food, and even margarine contain trans fat; be sure to read labels. Instead, choose lean meat, whole grains and vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Give soy or oat milk a chance in your coffee and say “no” to decadent lattes and smoothies, which can be loaded with sugar. Decrease your intake of processed or refined foods such as pasta, cookies, bread. It’s also best to avoid salty food and alcoholic beverages. Bulk up on fiber, too and remember to stay hydrated.
2. Don’t Sit for Too Long
Researchers have found that no matter how much a person exercises, those who stay seated for long periods of time increase their risk of developing heart disease – this is especially of concern for those who sit at their desk all day, or drive for long periods of time. The easy remedy is to increase movement into your day. While some say this is easier said than done, consider small steps, like seeking a standing desk, using a printer across the room, using the stairs or parking further away from your office building. You deserve a break, so take it! Your heart will thank you.
3. Practice Good Dental Hygiene
Being mindful of dental hygiene doesn’t only maintain your pearly white smile. Doctors have discovered that periodontal (gum) disease can affect your heart health. That’s because the bacteria inside your mouth can travel quite rapidly to your bloodstream and, subsequently, your heart. These bacteria can cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, inflame your blood vessels, and result in heightened blood pressure. Keep your mouth clean by brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash.
4. Seek Quality Sleep
The amount and quality of sleep you get each night can serve as an indicator of stroke risk or cardiovascular disease. Build a habit of sleeping and waking on time — no more social media browsing or games after bedtime. You can also fall asleep faster if your phone’s screen has a blue light filter. Avoid caffeine before bed and keep your bedroom cool. For people having trouble falling asleep, it’s best to see a doctor right away.
5. Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke
Smoking is another leading cause of an unhealthy heart, as well as lung and throat cancer, amongst other health concerns. Smoking cigarettes – even popular e-cigarettes and cigars – can cause plaque buildup in the arteries that blocks the flow of blood. If you are not a smoker, you should avoid secondhand smoke; those exposed to tobacco smoke have a 25-30 percent greater likelihood of developing heart problems than those who are not exposed.
A Healthy Heart in the Heart of Texas
It is common knowledge that a healthy heart is instrumental to overall wellness. However, if you have or at risk of developing heart disease, you will want to work with a doctor who can help you achieve your heart-healthy goals. At Texas Medical Institute, our providers specialize in family practice, emergency medicine and chiropractic care by providing cutting edge techniques and state-of-the-art services to give our patients. For more information about heart health and our other specialties, contact Texas Medical Institute in Fort Worth today. You can reach us at (817) 615-8633 or book an appointment online. Your heart is your lifeline; let us help you take care of it.