As people grow older, it’s more important for them to take care of their hearts. While exercise and dieting are beneficial, there are other healthy habits. Recommended by Cleveland Clinic cardiothoracic surgeon A. Marc Gillinov, MD, follow these easy steps every day to improve your lifestyle and heart health.
Eat Healthy Fats
It might seem odd to consider fats in our diet, but we need some fats, particularly saturated and polyunsaturated, and unsaturated fats. These healthy fats can be consumed by eating avocados, whole eggs, salmon, nuts, and yogurt.
However, it’s important to avoid trans-fats known to increase the risk of heart disease or stroke. The trans-fat clogs arteries by raising bad cholesterol levels. This harmful fat is found in packaged baked goods, snack foods, margarine, and most fried fast foods.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is more important to your health than you might think. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you’re at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. If you sleep less than six hours per night, you’re increasing the chance of having a stroke or heart attack. In addition, sleep deprivation causes other health complications, including high blood pressure and inflammation. Make sleep a priority in your daily routine.
Take Care of Your Teeth
You might not think your teeth relate to your heart, but poor dental health (especially those with gum disease) has the same risks involved with heart disease. Bacteria in the mouth can move into the bloodstream, causing inflammation in the blood vessels. Be sure to floss and brush your teeth every day.
It’s important to be active, and this doesn’t only include exercise. For example, it’s harmful to your health to sit for too long. Researchers have found that those who sit for the majority of the day have a 90 percent increase in death from cardiovascular conditions. Start moving throughout the day by taking short walks, stand up from your work desk, and stretch your legs.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Most people already know the dangers of smoking, but secondhand smoke is just as dangerous. People who are exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased risk of developing heart disease, even if they choose a healthy lifestyle. The chemicals in cigarette smoke build up plaque in the arteries, raising blood pressure levels and causing high blood cholesterol.
It might be awkward to be firm with smokers, but it’s important for your health. Look out for your heart to keep it healthy and strong.