The heart is something you need to protect, not just emotionally. Despite being the primary organ that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body and every other organ, it is also often the most neglected in care. In fact, cardiovascular diseases have long been the leading cause of death in the world, with the World Health Organization recording no less than 17 million cardiovascular-related deaths every year.
In the United States, alone, many individuals carry a greater risk of developing heart disease because of their lifestyle. In 2022, an American experienced a heart attack every 40 seconds. So, how can you protect yourself?
Thankfully, there are lots of natural ways you can improve your heart health. Here are a few of them:
Incorporate More Fish, Nuts, and Berries Into Your Diet
There’s a common misconception that “healthy” food is just bland and boring. The reality is that it’s just about balancing what you consume and incorporating heart-healthy food into your diet. Some great options that you can add to your diet are fish, nuts, and berries. Salmon and tuna are very rich in healthy fats, and you can serve them in a variety of delicious ways: sashimi, baked, honey roasted, and more. Berries are full of micronutrients and antioxidants that are really good for your heart. Popular options include blueberries and strawberries, which you can eat alone or add to other heart-friendly meals like oatmeal. Finally, walnuts and almonds go a long way in helping you lower your bad cholesterol and inflammation. You can have a handful as a quick snack or atop salads. It’s easy to eat healthy when you know your options!
Let Those Excess Pounds Go
When you have excess weight, you have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Especially if you have a high concentration of belly fat. Thankfully, there are ways to lose weight and reduce stubborn belly fat. One way to go about this is by incorporating more soluble fiber and high protein into your diet. This goes back to berries and fish but also includes legumes, poultry, soy, and lean unprocessed meat. The fiber helps your digestive system and makes you feel full for an extended period of time, while protein actually lowers your appetite so you crave less. Considering how satisfying protein can be, it’s not a difficult compromise.
Walk 10,000 Steps A Day
You don’t have to be overwhelmed with scheduling a gym session or jumping into sports just for cardiovascular wellness. Your heart health can improve massively simply by taking enough steps every day. Although it’s a relatively lower-impact activity it still gives you the same heart and weight benefits as doing a cardio-heavy thirty-minute workout. Just make sure you’re walking 10,000 steps a day to increase your stroke volume. This is described as the amount of blood that your heart can pump per beat. The larger your stroke volume is, the greater your aerobic capacity. With a significant aerobic capacity, you can strengthen your heart and lower the risk of mortality and disease. To get these steps in, you can go for a hike, a casual stroll, complete your chores, or play with your pets. Before you know it, you’re 10,000 steps will be completed.
Drop the Smoking and Drinking
It’s not just what you do, but what you can stop doing that can improve your wellbeing. People tend to think it’s okay to drink because of the whole “a glass of wine is good for the heart” notion. While wine does have properties helpful to the heart, consuming too much alcohol regularly can affect your heart’s muscles and increase the risk of heart failure, stroke, and hypertension. Meanwhile, smoking increases your heart rate, risk of stroke, and builds up carbon monoxide levels in the body. On the flip side, just twenty minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate immediately improves. Over time, these increased risks lessen and even normalize your heart condition if you continue your good habits.
Just making these four changes can do wonders for your heart. Not only does it improve your health but it also feels very fulfilling. If you work towards these new habits, you can truly improve the quality of your life in a natural way.