A comprehensive look at the factors involved in supporting heart health can be quite overwhelming. There is so much research and information out there that making any one decision can feel at times like an overwhelming task. Let alone the fact that then you have to incorporate a lifestyle change into your old habits that are hard to break.
Let’s take a step back, though, and break the big picture down into 4 simple heart health tips to get you on your way to a more healthful lifestyle.
You love your food, of course you do. Probably because you choose your food. Start making simple choices in your diet to promote heart health. According to the CDC, a heart healthy diet should be low in saturated fats and cholesterol in order to lower your cholesterol, and it should also restrict sodium to help maintain normal blood pressure.
Your first step for a healthy diet? Start planning. Sticking to a heart-friendly diet becomes way easier if you sit down before going to the grocery store and plan your week of meals. Plan for variety and plan for balance, and you won’t want to stop eating healthy. You’ll find that, with the right dose of thinking ahead of time, eating a heart healthy diet can be quite tasty.
Even if you’ve planned out your meals, sometimes it can still be tough to get quite all of the nutrients you need. That’s why you should discuss with your doctor adding supplements to your diet. It can prove to be an important conversation. Be sure that you know what, if any, nutrient deficiencies you have that may shape both your diet plan and your supplement additions.
Ask if an Omega-3 supplement is right for you, as it can help support healthy triglyceride levels. Another common deficiency that can play a critical role in supporting your heart health is Vitamin D.
Especially if you haven’t done it in a while, getting into good physical shape with regular exercise can be a pain. But doing so is absolutely crucial to healthy cardiovascular system. All it takes is a half hour per day, five times a week to start obtaining the associated heart health benefits—and there are a lot of them.
How can you start getting back into shape even if you don’t have time to hit the gym? Start adding in little bouts of exercise throughout your day. For instance, avoid the long stand up the escalator and hit the stairs. Fit bodyweight exercises like pushups, lunges, or squats in as you can. Once you’ve finished your dinner, the dishes can wait—your health is more important, isn’t it? Hit the road and take a walk in the fresh air for at least 10 minutes.
The last of our heart health tips comes down to a simple idea: to continue being active, you must also get some rest. A long-term study at the University of Pennsylvania found that too little sleep is linked to an increase in the risk factors for heart disease. Getting your 8 hours every night should be a no-brainer.
Combine these strategies along with the advice of your doctor, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you.