10 Ways to a healthy heart
Women are amazing, multitasking superstars! We run households, raise children, head up boardrooms and knock it out at the gym. However, like men, we are more likely to die of heart disease than any other malady. Heart attacks and strokes are the number one killers for women in the United States. Even though we know that taking care of ourselves translates to better care for others in our lives, our health regimens are often lacking.
Here are 10 things you can do to support your heart health happiness!
1. Walk the walk. Getting in at least 30 minutes of activity a day is key to good health. Be a great role model to your friends and family and take a 30-minute walk before you head off to the office or get the kids out of bed.
2. Veg out. Eating a diet with at least five servings of fruits and vegetables is important for a healthy heart. Vegetables tend to have more fiber than fruits and less sugar too. Keep in mind all fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
3. Go fish! Fish oils, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, help support heart health. Although you might not be up for 2 weekly servings of cold-water fish like tuna, mackerel or salmon, taking a daily fish oil supplement is an option.
4. To wine or not to wine? Although there are heart-healthy benefits from grapes and wine, health benefits start declining after the first glass for women and second for men. The American Heart Association shows heavy drinking in mid-life has been linked to a 34 percent increased risk of having a stroke compared to light drinkers. So, cheers to your first glass but switch to something lighter or non-alcoholic afterwards.
5. Get social. Having friends not only helps you live longer, but new research this year from Concordia University showed friendships can improve heart function. Numerous studies have shown that those with few social contacts were at a 50 percent higher risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who had greater social interaction.
6. Yogatate. Combine the strength and flexibility of yoga with calming meditation and you get = Yogatation! Try a simple sun salutation series while holding each pose for 30 seconds. This is a great way to enjoy yoga and will help reduce your blood pressure and resting heart rate with regular practice.
7. Be grateful. Recognizing and giving thanks for the positive aspects of life can result in improved mental, and ultimately physical, health in patients with asymptomatic heart failure, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. Start a daily bliss journal or just take time to reflect on the amazing things you have in your life!
8. Get a dog. Owning a pet may protect you from heart disease. Whether it’s the increased exercise pet owners seem to get from walking the dog or the relationship with man’s best friend, research shows that those who own pets have lower cholesterol levels and are at a lower risk for heart disease.
9. Stop smoking. This may be easier said then done, but even second hand smoke has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. For light and even heavy smokers, the percentage of successful cessation programs is still higher with unassisted drug medications. Quitting cold turkey may not be for you, but the percentage of success stories is promising.
10. Sleep in. Getting a good night’s rest is important for overall health. Lack of sleep doesn’t cause a heart attack, but the residual factors of insomnia can lead to weight gain, stress and other conditions that increase your risk factors. Opt for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Knowing your heart numbers is probably the most important thing you can do to help prevent heart disease. Getting annual blood work and blood pressure screenings can give you baselines to understand when something is not right and when to take action. Make sure to get an annual physical with your doctor and report any palpitations, shortness of breath or unexplained fatigue immediately to your caregiver.
* Based on U.S. News & World Report - Pharmacy Times Survey ‡ State-of-the-art purification processes are used to remove mercury to ensure purity levels below 0.1 ppm.