The phrase “heart-healthy” gets thrown around a lot these days. You’ll see it on restaurant menus, in commercials, and online. But what exactly does it mean? And most importantly, how can you actually keep your heart healthy in your day-to-day life?
Here’s how to live a heart-healthy life — it’s simpler than you might think.
Eating a healthy diet is one of the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease. A heart-healthy diet is one low in saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. Heart-healthy choices include things like foods high in fiber (whole grains, vegetables, and fruits), and healthy fats like those in olive oil or fish. So, instead of opting for a burger and fries for lunch, a side salad and a slice of salmon would be a much more heart-healthy choice.
Staying active on a regular basis is another great way to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. A healthy adult should be getting at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity every week. Even a brisk walk helps. The combination of eating right and maintaining a level of good exercise is simply the best way to make sure your heart — and the rest of your body! — stays in good shape.
Practice Healthy Habits
Outside of diet and exercise, there are a few healthy habits to practice in your daily life. First, don’t smoke. Smoking puts a lot of pressure on your heart, and even ingesting secondhand smoke regularly is very unhealthy. It’s also important to manage your stress levels, because too much stress contributes to problems like heart disease and high blood pressure. Last but not least, limit your alcohol consumption as well as the use of other drugs.
Know Your Numbers
Talk with your doctor about your family’s health history; heart disease often has a genetic component. And work with your doctor to learn about your cholesterol and blood pressure numbers. When you’re aware of where you’re currently at in terms of heart health, you know where you have to go next.
Make Some Heart-Healthy Choices Today
It’s never too late to start paying attention to your heart health. Follow the simple guidelines above and give your heart the love it needs!