Things that you can do to ensure a happy, healthy heart
18 September 2017| Last updated on 18 September 2017
The heart – a sign of love, the organ attributed to emotions and all too often the culprit blamed for foolish decisions but it is so much more than that! Your heart is the most vital organs in your body. It is the oh-so-needed supplier of oxygen and nutrients to all your organs and removes carbon dioxide and other wastes.
Yes, your brain is important… But your heart is the organ that is keeping everything alive. As soon as the oxygen supply to organs and tissue is cut off, they will start dying. This is why it is so crucial to look after your heart.
Heart disease have always been a concern and fast food becoming the preferred choice and a less active lifestyle isn’t helping either.
A recent study about the social attitude towards heart disease in Kuwait showed that 39% of residents who participated fear that they might die because of heart disease.
Celebrate World Heart Day on September 29th by starting to live healthier and looking after your heart! Here are 7 ways how you can look after your hearts health:
Eating healthy is about more than just counting your calories and cutting out certain foods. Eating healthy for your heart entails a balanced diet with more fibre, fish, nuts and seeds and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You will also need to cut down on certain things such as saturated fat, sugar and salt. In addition to the above, keep an eye of your cholesterol levels and eat slowly so that you don’t over eat.
Consult your local dietitian to help you prepare a healthy diet that is right for you. This will not only be good for your heart, but also make you feel better in general, help you manage your weight and enjoy more energy.
Drink plenty of water
Your body consists of approximately 80% water. It is important to help regulate your body temperature and plays a vital role in nearly every bodily function. Drinking more water will help to naturally suppress your hunger, help your brain to feel less fuzzy and help your body remove waste.
In short, there is a reason why they call water the substance of life. Your body requires 2 litres a day of water to function optimally.
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Cut back on alcohol
Now that you know why water is important for your body, it is a good time to mention that you need to cut back on drinking alcohol. Alcohol not only dehydrates you, which is bad for your whole body, but it also increases your heart rate, blood pressure, weaken your heart muscles and cause irregular heartbeat.
One or two drinks can protect some people against heart disease but this is not for everyone. It is best to consult your physician about this.
Become more active
Exercising frequently will not only make you look great, but also help make all your muscles stronger, release ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain, increases the oxygen levels in your blood and help control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
You don’t need to start training for a marathon or join a CrossFit club. Simply start by taking a walk every day and increase the distance every week or join a spinning class at your local gym. Get up every hour or so and start opting to take the stairs instead of the elevator.
It is a good idea to consult your doctor or work with a personal trainer if you are struggling with your weight. This is to ensure that you don’t put too much strain on your heart while exercising.
Quitting smoking and avoiding second hand smoke is most probably the single best thing that you can do for your heart. Smoking is the main cause of coronary heart disease. Cigarette smoke promotes the development of plaque build-up in the arteries making smokers more likely to suffer from a heart attack.
Deciding to quit will not only improve your health, but also save you money and make you feel better in general.
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Manage your weight
You might not be overweight, but are you sure that you have the ideal weight for you? To determine your ideal weight, you will need to calculate your BMI. While doing this, do however keep in mind that there is a big difference between your body fat percentage and your body muscle percentage. Muscle ways more than fat so you will weigh more with the more muscles you build. You might have to ask your personal trainer to help you measure this or have a look at scales that automatically calculates this for you.
Get enough sleep, but not too much
Many people under estimate just how important sleep is for our bodies. While we sleep, our bodies work at healing and repairing itself, our minds process the information from the day and our brain releases anti-depressant hormones. Sleep also helps to improve memory, spur creativity, sharpen attention and help you to perform better in general.
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Be careful not to sleep too much though. Studies have shown that the same as how lack of sleep improves your chances of suffering from cardiovascular disease, so does sleeping too much. Ideally, you should be getting 8 hours of sleep per night.
Looking after your heart is all about balance. There are a couple of small changes that you can do that will make a big difference. You don’t need to implement everything all at once, but rather set goals for yourself and systematically implement the changes into your daily routine and diet.