Follow these 7 tips for a healthier heart:
1. Eat Better
Cut out sugary and fatty foods from your diet. Make your life simple by following the four F’s and avoiding the four S’s. The four F’s include eating fruits and vegetables, fiber, fish and fat free foods. The four S’s include avoiding sugar, salt, saturated fat and smoking.
“When you’re active, your muscles are stronger and it’s easier for your heart to pump blood to the rest of your body,” said Kirk Knowlton, MD, director of cardiovascular research at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute and president of the AHA’s Western Region. “You’ll also reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure. Daily moderate activity for 30 minutes and 5,000 to 10,000 steps should keep your heart in shape.”3. Lose Weight
“A normal cholesterol level is under 200, but less cholesterol is always better,” said Dr. Knowlton “A rule of thumb is to get your cholesterol checked every three to five years.”
Know your numbers. A blood pressure of 120/80 is considered normal. If your blood pressure is above 130, you should talk to your doctor. A great way to reduce blood pressure is by reducing your salt intake.
“High blood sugar injures the lining of your blood vessels, which makes them susceptible to plaque build-up,” said Dr. Knowlton. You can control your blood sugar through living a healthy lifestyle and reducing your intake of sugar.
If you are a smoker, stop. If you aren’t a smoker don’t start. Your heart health decreases rapidly with smoking.
The American Heart Association has a great tool to check the health of your heart. Find out more at mylifecheck.heart.org.