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Keeping Your Heart Healthy

The heart is a vital organ of the body and so it is important to take care of it by maintaining a healthy life style. But just maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not enough to keep the heart healthy as many other factors contribute in the weakening of the heart. What you eat, drink, your activity level, and how you cope with stress are factors help to determine the health of the heart.

  • Healthy Diet: A heart-healthy diet is low in Trans fats, refined sugars and high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acid. Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables can help control weight and blood pressure whereas eating fish, such as salmon, rich in omega-3 fatty acids will lower the risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Exercise: Exercise strengthens the heart and increases its ability to circulate blood throughout the body. Exercise helps lowering blood pressure, reduces stress on the heart and it also increases the availability of oxygen and nutrients to the heart tissues.
  • Lose Weight: Being overweight puts extra pressure on the heart, increasing the risk of heart conditions. Obesity leads to high cholesterol, high blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the basic necessities for a healthy heart today.
  • Cholesterol: Monitoring and controlling the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is another way to keep your healthy. LDL cholesterol is considered "bad" cholesterol and found in foods high in saturated fats and Trans fats. LDL cholesterol calcifies the arteries causing buildup of arterial plaque which in turn limits blood flow in the body, making you a candidate for heart disease. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the good form that helps to remove LDL cholesterol from the bloodstream. So for a healthy heart it is advisable to include HDL-promoting foods such as fiber, fish, fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid Smoking: Smoking has a negative effect on your heart as the toxins in cigarette smoke increases risk for blood clots, reduce stamina and ability to exercise thus increasing your blood pressure and lowering your good HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Drink in moderation: In moderation alcohol increases good cholesterol making it beneficial to the heart and keeps it healthy. However, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure and heart failure.
  • Reduce Stress: Stress is a common culprit for heart problems as it elevates blood pressure which in turn takes a toll on the heart. It is advised to practice meditation, yoga, and other techniques that help you relax.
  • Less Salt Intake: High salt increases blood pressure eventually leading to heart conditions. When sodium accumulates in the blood, it attracts water, increasing the blood volume. In this situation the heart has to work harder to keep blood circulation through the system, resulting in elevated blood pressure.