One of the biggest factors that influence your chances of developing a disease, condition or illness, is your diet and lifestyle choices. A healthy and balanced diet and lifestyle can go a long way in preventing various types of health problems. It can also help reduce the effects of existing conditions and help the body fight it better.
Whether you are currently suffering from heart conditions, you are at risk of developing them, or would like to prevent them to a significant extent, here are some tips you can incorporate into your daily life:
A balanced diet can help your body become better prepared to fight illnesses, and recuperate faster from them. A commonly stressed upon fact would be the importance of fruits, vegetable and whole grains in one’s diet. By incorporating these elements into your everyday diet, your body receives essentials such as fiber as well as vitamins and minerals, all of which can benefit your heart health.
Dietary fiber can improve cholesterol levels by getting rid of excess/bad cholesterol from the body through wastes. As for vitamins and minerals, they provide several benefits including protection against oxidative stress (imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body that leads to tissue damage), due to their abundance of antioxidants.
Another dietary change you can make would be the inclusion of healthy and lean proteins. This would include plant-based protein sources, fish, poultry, lean meat as well as low-fat/fat-free dairy. Compared to high-fat protein sources (like red meats and processed meats), lean proteins provide more health benefits and lesser damage to the body while still giving you the feeling of fullness.
You can also incorporate the usage of plant-based oils, such as olive oil, avocado oil or flaxseed oil, as they help lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body. Plant-based oils contain unsaturated fats, which lowers the bad cholesterol level in the body while increasing the good cholesterol level, as opposed to oils/foods that contain saturated fats.
Other simple dietary changes you can make include avoiding food and beverages that contain added sugars, limiting the amount of salt in foods, and also limiting your alcohol consumption.
Apart from your diet, certain lifestyle habits can also affect your heart health. By swapping them out for healthier and better habits, you can greatly improve your heart health as well as the overall health of your body and mind.
One of the biggest habits one can follow is giving your body the rest it requires to recuperate after a long day by getting adequate sleep. Sound sleep can help the body refresh and rejuvenate itself overnight and can help reduce the risk of many conditions including cardiovascular ones. It is recommended to get at least 7-9 hours of sound sleep to reset your systems for the following day. Sleep conditions like sleep apnea, as well as disturbance from surroundings can disrupt the quality of your sleep, and hence it is imperative to create a conducive sleeping environment to help you get the rest you need.
Cardiovascular conditions can also be prevented to a significant extent, by reducing stress levels in the body and mind. High stress levels can negatively affect one’s body and mind, resulting in high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, as well as reduced blood flow throughout the body. It is important to reduce stress by incorporating stress relieving routines into everyday life and staying away from stress triggers.
Apart from these habits, cardiovascular conditions can be prevented to a great extent through regular exercise and staying active. Regular exercise can help the body in many ways, by reducing blood pressure, improving cholesterol levels, reducing inflammation, reducing stress, and improving the heart’s contractions/relaxations. Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy body weight, which can in turn improve your heart health, preventing cardiovascular conditions that occur due to weight-related issues like obesity.
Another very important lifestyle change that can greatly improve heart health, is quitting or avoiding smoking. Smoking can cause various negative changes within the body, including lowering good cholesterol levels, making blood thicker causing clotting, damaging blood vessel cells, increasing plaque build-up in the blood vessels, and even thickening of blood vessels. The earlier you quit smoking, the higher are your chances to recover from its ill effects and improve your heart health before its too late.
By inculcating these dietary and lifestyle habits into your everyday routine, heart health can be greatly improved and the chances of developing cardiovascular conditions can be reduced. One thing to note is that, while a healthy diet and lifestyle can reduce your chances of developing heart conditions, it does not completely prevent it, especially if you or your family members have a history of heart conditions. Nevertheless, a healthy diet and lifestyle goes a long way in controlling not just heart conditions, but also one’s overall physical and mental health.
**The above information is for general knowledge only and does not constitute medical advice. Please consult a doctor if you have any questions or symptoms.