Heart health is key to living a long, robust life. When the heart isn’t healthy, it can lead to a stroke, heart attack, or heart failure. Jane Clauss talks to Dr. Clyde Yancy with Northwestern Medicine about tips for maintaining good heart health in order to feel better as well as live a longer, healthier life. The American Heart Association recommends the Simple Seven to keep your heart strong and healthy. It is important to practice these seven tips for a healthier heart.
1- Don’t smoke
Smoking can cause a lot of damage to the heart including damaging the lining of the arteries and the buildup of plaque. This leads to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Smoking also causes the heart to work harder by beating faster and can cause tar to buildup in the arteries.
2-Be Physically Active
Exercising for 30-60 minutes per day is a great way to keep your heart in shape and can prevent heart attack, strokes, and heart failure. The heart will continue to get stronger as exercise becomes a routine because the increased heart rate will strengthen the organ as it’s pumping blood. Exercise also helps to lower blood pressure and reduces cholesterol.
3-Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can increase the risk of heart disease by putting extra stress on the heart. It can cause an increased risk of high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, diabetes, and stroke. By having healthy diet and exercising regularly, weight can be maintained and can help heart health.
4-Eat a Heart Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is important for maintaining heart health and cholesterol levels. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fish high in Omega-3s can be great for maintaining a healthy weight and can help control and lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar, salt, and are processed. These foods can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol.
5-Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can put a lot of extra stress on the heart. If blood pressure is too high, it stresses the heart and damages arteries. A healthy blood pressure stays less than 130/80. If you have high blood pressure, it is important to consult your doctor on ways to maintain it. They might prescribe medication and recommend exercise and a healthy diet.
6-Control Cholesterol Levels
Good cholesterol is important for keeping the arteries clear and healthy. When cholesterol levels are good, it removes LDL cholesterol from the arteries and is able to keep them clear and unclogged from plaque buildup. A healthy diet with heart healthy food, regular exercise, and a healthy weight can help prevent high cholesterol. Dr. Yancy says that a good cholesterol level is less than 200.
7-Reduce Blood Sugar
Having good blood sugar levels is also important for keeping the arteries healthy. Dr. Yancy recommends a blood sugar level that is less than 100. When blood sugar levels are too high, there can be a buildup of plaque because of the damage it causes to the arteries. Once again, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a healthy weight are key to maintaining a good blood sugar level.
These seven tips are all important for maintaining heart health. They can help prevent heart disease and even some cancers. The heart is connected to all aspects of our health, so it is important to know the numbers that cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar should be at. A healthier heart means a healthier life!
Jane is a trusted voice when it comes to health, wellness, medicine, and fitness. As the long-time host of Living Healthy TV she’s interviewed the best experts in the world of health and wellness to bring the story to you.