6 Easy Steps to a Healthier Heart
1. Oatmeal Please!
Eating a breakfast high in whole grains can reduce your risk of heart troubles. Cholesterol lowering, high fiber whole grains are the key to the heart healthy Mediterranean diet. A study by the American Heart Association showed that of 10,496 adults who ate whole grains at breakfast 7 times a week were 28% less likely to develop heart failure than those who didn’t.
2. Have a banana or two.
It has been shown that potassium can regulate blood pressure and help prevent hypertension, which are two main factors in heart disease. Many of us only get ½ the potassium in our daily diets, so load up on leafy vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
3. Here Kitty, Kitty
It has been shown repeatedly that owners of cats are less likely to develop heart troubles and other cardiovascular diseases. Cats help relieve stress and anxiety. So let Mittens curl up on your chest or in your lap; it will do you both good.
4. And One and Two…
It’s a broken record I am sure we’ve all heard, but regular exercise is the key to warding off future heart issues. It’s recommended that everyone get 45 minutes of moderate exercise 5 times a week, which can sound like a lot, but carving out exercise time should be high on the list of priorities you have. If your time is limited, try exercising in intervals. Studies show that after 6 weeks of doing exercise intervals, members had improved their blood vessel function. Try this: quick burst of exercise for 30 seconds followed by a 1 minute recovery. Do this 5 to 8 times three times a week. Rate your intensity by how well you can talk while exercising. The burst should be almost impossible to talk, while the recovery should be easy to hold conversation. Interval exercise also makes your workouts seem shorter because you are changing your focus during the exercise, rather than just doing one single motion for 45 minutes.
5. Sunny D Please
Vitamin D is one supplement that goes a long way in protecting us from heart disease. A study in Circulation showed that patients that had low levels of Vitamin D in their blood tests were twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with higher levels. Everyone should get their daily dosage of 1000 IU daily.
6. Rinse and Spit
Most of us just don’t remember to floss daily and sometimes it hurts afterward, which puts it on the back burner of things to do. But flossing is key in helping to keep your heart healthy. Those who have bacterial buildup, which can lead to periodontal disease, are twice as likely to have heart related issues as those who floss regularly. Your tongue is also a great place for bacteria to hide, so investing in a tongue scraper might not be a bad idea either.