Cardiovascular disease, or CVD, refers to any disease or condition that affects the heart and circulatory system (1). CVD accounts for more than 17 million deaths each year, making it the leading cause of death globally (2). That’s why keeping your heart healthy is so important — by maintaining good habits and watching out for warning signs you can dramatically reduce your risk of CVD. Here are six ways to do that and keep your heart healthy for years to come.
While it’s important to consider how much exercise you get, your diet is an equally significant factor in health and fitness. Most people understand that eating a nutritious diet full of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can lead to long-term health. However, some other dietary factors may surprise you—including which types of fat we eat. Overconsumption of saturated fats (which often come from red meat) has been linked to cardiovascular disease; on the flip side, unsaturated fats (which tend to be found in fish) have also been connected with heart problems (1). It’s important to speak with your doctor before making any major changes to your diet. Consideration should also be given to supplementing with vitamins; antioxidants like vitamin C have proven effective at improving immune system strength and fighting diseases.
While no amount of exercise can magically make weight problems disappear, exercising regularly is a great way to keep your body and heart healthy. While it might seem like eating more vegetables would also solve weight problems, being overweight or obese can greatly increase your risk for many other diseases that don’t have anything to do with digestion. Ultimately, practicing healthy habits across all aspects of your life is key to staying fit and feeling great.
It is often recommended that people drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. While water doesn’t directly contribute to weight loss, it is an important part of staying hydrated and can help boost your metabolism. It also helps flush out toxins and will keep you feeling more full so you won’t overindulge. This is an especially good practice if you plan on consuming alcohol since alcohol tends to dehydrate people.
Getting enough sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for optimal health. Sleep plays an important role in many functions, such as restoring your energy levels and maintaining your immune system. Moreover, you’re more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices when you’re rested, so getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health (1). Skimping on sleep might lead to metabolic changes that contribute to excess weight gain.
Avoid unhealthy vices
If you’re hoping to keep your heart healthy and avoid developing any cardiovascular diseases, it’s a good idea to avoid unhealthy vices. Smoking cigarettes is one of these vices that has been found to increase your chances of contracting many chronic illnesses including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, and lung cancer (2). Therefore, while it might seem hard at first, quitting smoking can lower your risks for many of these conditions; in turn, helping you live a longer and healthier life.
Manage stress levels
When your heart is healthy, it does its job efficiently. While you can’t change your blood pressure or cholesterol without drugs (they come with a host of side effects), you can reduce these factors—and lower your risk for a heart attack—by making conscious lifestyle choices to manage stress and improve your diet and fitness levels. Here are some great tips to get started