February might be full of heart-shaped accessories and gifts, but beyond the iconic symbol of romance, it’s also the time for the American Heart Month, a 30-day observance that aims to spread consciousness about heart problems. According to statistics, heart diseases produce at least 1 of every 4 deaths, and it’s the leading cause of death amongst women, especially in America.

To help you out, we’ve gathered some essential tips for a healthier heart that can assist you in the prevention of heart failure and cardiovascular problems.

 

Tip for a healthier heart #5: Keep your numbers checked

Want to prevent heart diseases? A great way to avoid unpleasant situations and make sure your heart is working properly, is to keep your numbers in check. Measure regularly your good and bad cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, body mass index and waistline; and compare them to the “normal” levels stablished by a qualified doctor.

This standard can change according to your location, age and genetic risk, so make sure you consult a specialist so you can know your heart. Keep in mind that any change to these levels can increase your risk of developing a heart disease, so make sure you always monitor them.   

   

Tip for a healthier heart #4: Avoid stress

A stressful life paves a guaranteed path to heart afflictions, so one of the first steps you should take for keeping your heart healthy is to reduce your levels of anxiety. A great way of achieving that is to practice fun or relaxing activities regularly, such as yoga, meditation, dancing, or a hobby that allows you to clear your mind and entertain yourself.

Choosing activities that also involve mental or physical faculties, such as making puzzles, knitting, sports, walking your pets, etc., are also great for providing relief and keeping your mind sharp.   

 

Tip for a healthier heart #3: Give up on unhealthy habits

Enjoying a cigarette? Leading a sedentary life? Eating too much fat food? Every time you indulge in unhealthy habits you increase your risk of heart disease, since they rise your blood pressure and clog your arteries.

Don’t postpone quitting! Give up on any potentially damaging activity as soon as possible, and replace them for less problematic options.

 

Tip for a healthier heart #2: Remain active

Want a healthier heart? The key is to keep moving your body! Losing calories is the perfect way to make sure your heart is fit and strong. It’s generally recommended to exercise for a minimum of 2.5 hours per week, but if you’re not into long workouts you can simply alter your routine to stay healthy without too much hassle.

Walk to the store or your workplace, take the stairs instead of using the elevator, play with your kids in the park, dance as you do your chores, stretch your body regularly, etc.

 

Tip for a healthier heart #1: Eat properly

A healthy diet is essential for a healthier heart, but there are too many myths going around, making it confusing and difficult to plan a proper regimen. Cutting back on some foods and adding more of others are the keys for avoiding heart diseases:

  • Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fiber and nuts.
  • Reduce salt and alcohol.
  • Increase the amount of antioxidants.
  • Reduce foods high in saturated fats and trans fat.
  • Don’t skip your breakfast.
  • Drink black and green tea.

Also remember that how you eat is just as important as what you eat: drink enough water and move after you eat so you keep your metabolism active.

 

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Sources:
CDC. Heart disease facts. http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
Healthline. 28 healthy heart tips. http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/healthy-heart-tips
NHS. Top 10 healthy heart tips. http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyhearts/Pages/Healthy-heart-tips.aspx
Web MD. 12 tips for better heart health. http://www.webmd.com/heart/features/12-tips-for-better-heart-health / Heart health tips from a top cardiologist. http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/cardiologists-guide-to-a-healthy-heart