How to Maintain a Healthy Heart

Keep Your Ticker Ticking With These Eight Heart-Healthy Tips

Two male running friends running in front of Brooklyn bridge, New York, USA VIEW DETAILS Two male running friends running in front of Brooklyn bridge, New York, USA
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There's a lot of advice flying around about what you can do to keep your heart healthy. And, while ideas may come and go, the evidence consistently points to eight lifestyle factors that keep your ticker ticking. Here's how to maintain a healthy heart.

1. Reduce Fat Intake

A certain amount of fat is good for a well-balanced diet, but reducing the amount of fat and the type of fat you eat can keep your heart healthy.

Saturated fat affects blood cholesterol levels, so try to eat less full-fat dairy products, cakes, cookies, pastries, and burgers and replace with monosaturated fats such as olive and rapeseed oil, nuts, and avocado. In small amounts, polyunsaturated fats, found oily fish such as salmon and sardines, help reduce cholesterol. Other sources of polyunsaturated fat include sunflower, corn and soybean oils.

2. Hold the Salt Shaker

Eating too much sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, which can have a negative affect on your heart. The recommended level is no more than 6 grams a day. Cooking with less salt and trying to avoid adding any salt at the table is a good place to start.

3. Exercise Regularly

Finding time for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day is a great way to maintain a healthy heart. Regular exercise improves heart function and lowers your blood pressure and blood cholesterol.

4. Keep Your Weight Down

Carrying around extra body weight puts excess stress and strain on your heart. Not to mention that eating too many calorie-laden, fattening foods can make you feel lethargic and de-energized and affects your self-image and confidence. Try eating more fruit and vegetables, less sugary foods, and more unrefined carbohydrates such as seed breads, wholegrain cereals, and pasta.

Soluble fiber, found in oats, beans, and other foods, may also help reduce cholesterol.

5. Stop Smoking

If you smoke, quitting is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It dramatically cuts your chances of getting heart and respiratory diseases, cancer, and emphysema. If you have already had a heart attack quitting will reduce your risk of a second one.

6. Relax

Finding time to unwind and de-stress is important for overall health, not just heart health. Whether it's reading a good book, playing an instrument or spending time with friends, relaxing and lower your stress levels can help your heart.

7. Think Lifestyle Changes Over Dieting

By living and eating in a healthier way you will feel better, more energized, more confident and happier.

8. Monitor Your Health Status

Keep a check on your body mass index. Get a blood pressure machine and keep an eye your blood pressure. Get yourself screened at the appropriate times.​

By following these tips you'll be on your way to living a healthier, more heart-healthy life.