If you are trying to achieve a heart-healthy lifestyle, this guide can help. Here is everything you need to know about how to boost heart health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. That holds true for men and women, as well as for most racial and ethnic groups. All of us are susceptible to it.
That’s why one of the best things we can do to lead longer, healthier lives is to boost heart health in any way we can. Here are a few ways we can all work toward preventing heart disease and lowering our heart attack risk.
Opt for a Heart-Friendly Diet
You are what you eat, as they stay, so it stands to reason that eating heart-healthy foods will contribute to a heart-healthy life.
As the Department of Health and Human Services points out, a high-fiber diet is a great way to start. These kinds of meal plans are rich in foods that promote good heart health like beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
At the same time, you’ll want to restrict your intake of sodium and saturated fats. While we need modest quantities of both to maintain good health, the modern American diet wildly over-indulges in them.
Get Active to Boost Heart Health
Contrary to popular belief, there is no single “correct” set of exercises for heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. How you meet that goal, however, is up to you.
You can mix and match moderate and intense exercise as you see fit. And you don’t need to restrict yourself to running on the treadmill, either. Resistance training can help turbocharge your metabolism, which in turn helps you maintain a moderate weight and blood pressure.
Seek Medical Intervention When Needed
While lifestyle changes can be a great help in improving your health, it’s important to know that not every condition can be self-managed. Heart rhythm problems are a good example. Also called arrhythmias, these conditions may need medical intervention to address.
If you live with one of these conditions, your doctor may recommend the use of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD). There are different types of ICDs for different conditions, but they all work on a similar principle. If your heart is not beating at a steady, consistent pace, these devices can an electric shock to stimulate the heart muscle as needed.
That’s only one example of when you may need medical intervention. If you have persistent concerns about your heart or experience new or worrying symptoms, you should always consult your doctor at your earliest convenience.
Reaching Your Heart Health Goals Is a Daily Endeavor
As we work to boost heart health across the board, it’s important to remember that these tips aren’t something we can do once and forget about. They’re behaviors that we need to practice in our daily lives. Even if you get a medical device like an ICD, you need to cultivate heart-healthy habits to continue improving your health. Adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle is only the beginning. For more ideas on how to live a longer, happier life, be sure to check out our other health posts and guides.