Bad habits can take over our lives without us being too aware of it. When this happens, our health suffers, and one of the organs that suffers the most is the heart.
In today’s article we’ll look at the best ways to take care of your heart and keep it healthy and active. Thanks to a few simple tips, we can improve our heart health and, at the same time, our quality of life.. Sometimes we just need to stop for a moment to reflect and change old bad habits or add certain healthy habits.
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The best 12 recommendations to take care of your heart
Many times only by changing small things in our life we can get a great return. With age it is easier to realize that it is in our best interest to put aside old bad habits and embrace new ones. We see that it is essential to improve our quality of life.
If we keep our heart healthy, the risk of cardiovascular disease will decrease.. Do not forget that ischemic heart disease is the number 1 cause of death in the world, and infarction is the second (WHO, 2016).
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1. Use our body more
In our day-to-day lives we use elevators and take public transportation, but it is highly recommended to give small doses of exercise to our body. Going up three floors is very good for a healthy heart, so it is better to forget about the elevator in general. On the other hand, if work is a 20-minute walk away, it probably doesn’t make much sense to take 10 minutes by train to get 10 minutes more sleep.
Sometimes we don’t give simple things the value they deserve. Just walking for 20 to 30 minutes at a time during a day has wonderful effects on our cardiovascular health.. This amount of time is enough for us to have a healthier and stronger heart just by walking. It only takes a little walking every day to reduce the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.
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3. Jogging or running
Jogging or running is also very beneficial for our heart.. Everyone should know their limits, and the most important thing is to do something frequently and for the time mentioned above. Running two days a week beyond our means for an hour is worse for our heart than regular activity of a shorter duration.
4. Strength training
Sometimes we tend to think that weight training is counterproductive for the heart, and that it is only for those who want to enlarge their muscles. Nothing could be further from the truth. It has been scientifically proven that weight training is very good for cardiovascular health.. Of course, we must adapt the weight according to our initial physical conditions. Then, we can adapt a more ambitious plan if we want to.
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5. Exercise in general
We have seen before that walking or running brings us a lot of health, but obviously it should be extended to any type of physical activity. Within our possibilities, any physical activity ensures that we move in a way that is good for our heart.. Whatever the activity, from swimming to paddle tennis, our heart will work and in the long run we will be grateful for it.
6. Healthy diet
Along with exercise, diet is fundamental for the prevention of heart and cardiovascular problems in general.. We should eat a lot more fruits, vegetables and whole grains than the average person is eating. Conversely, eating too much saturated fats, sugars, refined carbohydrates and processed products from the food industry is harmful to our heart.
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7. Avoid salt
Salt causes our blood pressure to rise. It is a problem that at first does not seem serious but can take a serious toll on our heart. When there is hypertension, the heart has to work hard and associated problems appear, such as the enlargement of its walls. We must keep this important organ healthy and young to have more quality of life, health and life expectancy.
8. Take foods with omega-3
Foods containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are very helpful for our heart.. It is a type of healthy fat that helps to improve cardiovascular health. There are not many sources of omega-3 fatty acids, but we highlight: oily fish (sardines, tuna, mackerel, etc.), nuts (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, etc.) and chia and flax seeds.
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9. Avoid stress
Anxiety and stress seriously damage the heart.. When we are in these conditions, heart rate and blood pressure rise, and also the blood vessels suffer a hardening. Needless to say, all these conditions are detrimental to our heart, which is forced to work harder and in adverse conditions.
10. Do not overwork
Overworking is harmful to our heart. It has been scientifically proven that people who work more than 45 hours a week have a higher risk of suffering from coronary heart disease than the rest of the population. Having a good quality of life should come first. If you see that your work is being too demanding, perhaps it would be a good idea to think about changing your professional activity.
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11. Quit smoking
Smoking is the worst thing for our health. To maintain a healthy heart, as well as the entire cardiovascular system and overall health, you should avoid exposing your body to tobacco at all costs. Quitting smoking is an essential step to take care of your heart, as it improves the circulation of blood vessels and tissues do not suffer the wear and tear caused by the harmful substances in tobacco smoke.
12. Avoid being overweight
The heart suffers a lot when we are overweight.. Its main function is to pump the blood so that it can reach all the cells of our body, so if we have a lot of body mass we demand more from our heart. This and other associated complications make taking care of the heart more difficult in these circumstances. For example, we have more limitations to exercise.
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Micha, R. and Mozaffarian, D. (2010). Saturated fat and cardiometabolic risk factors, coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes: a fresh look at the evidence. Lipids. 45 (10), 893-905.
Ornish, D. (1993). Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? World Rev Nutr Diet, 72, 38-48.
WHO (2016). Top 10 causes of death. Retrieved November 18, 2018 from: http://www.who.int/es/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death