Live Lighter is all about natural, healthy, balanced living. Our heart is a vital part of our biological system and needs proper care, just like the engine in a car. Today our guest blogger, Sameer Ather, shares with us some helpful information for us to be aware of when we aim to maintain a healthy heart.
The present nature of the world has made it near impossible to live a peaceful and healthy life, the way we’re technically supposed to. There are several harmful practices that have become more and more frequent in the world, which have affected our healthy living. Staying healthy requires a proper understanding of how the heart functions.
The cardiovascular system is the engine room of the body, and a critical understanding of its functions will not only help in living more healthily, but will also help in the prevention of any harmful disease that might affect it in any way.
The human heart has two sides which perform distinct functions: one side takes care of oxygen rich blood while the other side takes care of the less oxygenized blood. The heart also contains special valves that open and close each time we breathe.
The cardiovascular system is affected by various types of diseases; such diseases can be a result of blood vessel issues such as the piling up of fatty plaques, or of the absence of flexibility and weakness of the arteries.
It’s not exactly news that certain foods we consume increase the chances of diseases which in turn affect the heart, but often times, changing the way we eat is not that easy. This is something that needs to be checked and kept under a relative degree of control. In other words, if you want a healthy heart, you will have to watch what you eat.
Within this article, we will give you an overview on the natural ways that you can employ to prevent any potential heart disease. This way you will learn how and what you can do to keep your heart healthy naturally.
Consume Foods Rich in Nutrients
The secret to a healthy eating is consuming foods that are rich in nutrients. Careful to do your research on what various foods contain and what combos work best. For example, the idea of vegetables being a better source of minerals and vitamins than beef is not actually that true: the level of major minerals and vitamins that you get from beef liver is higher than what is obtainable from apples and carrots, for example.
Minimize your Sodium Consumption
The consumption of sodium increases the chance of high blood pressure, which is a source of heart disease. The lesser the quantity of sodium the better. Reducing the intake of sodium to the minimum is a good step towards preventing any potential cardiovascular disease.
Reduce your Stress Level
Stress is among the things that causes heart disease and it can go as far as causing sudden death or heart attack. Make sure you maintain a healthy stress level by undertaking a good amount of exercise daily, sleeping well, having a good laugh as often as possible, and also avoid situations and people that tend to get you anxious and angry. These are all means you can use to significantly diminish your stress level.
Consume (Some) Saturated Fats
Contrary to the old belief that saturated fat causes heart disease, it has been shown that saturated fats are protected against damages caused by oxidation, which is one of the main causes of heart disease. This advantage transfers to you when you consume them, and this is just one perk among several other health benefits of saturated fats.
Maintain a Good Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major cause of cardiovascular disease, and the greatest problem here is that its symptoms are not noticed in most cases. The higher your blood pressure is, the higher the chances of cardiovascular disease. It is good to maintain your blood pressure within normal limits in order to avoid any potential harm to your heart.
Avoid Industrial Vegetable Oil
Industrially-produced vegetable oils have high amount of omega 6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are not a good friend to the cardiovascular system. This fatty acid increases oxidative damages and inflammation, known to be the main causes of heart disease. To avoid it, you will need to stop consuming processed and packaged foods because they are high in industrial vegetable oil.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and have high percentage of dietary fiber. Fruits are also a good source of minerals and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables are rich in plant-specific nutrients, which helps in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and their consumption will also assist in reducing the quantity of foods we consume that are high in fats and harmful substances.
Watch Your Weight
The key to a healthy life in adulthood is maintaining a healthy weight. Obesity increases the chance of having heart disease and high blood pressure. You can understand how healthy your heart is, when you know your BMI. A higher BMI means you are at a higher risk of suffering from a cardiovascular disorder.
Proper care should be taken when assessing the BMI result because physically fit individuals (with more developed muscles) will likely have a higher BMI, but in this case it does not mean they are at risk of any disease.
Avoid Smoking (Including Passive Smoking)
Smoking is very dangerous to the heart and beyond: it increases oxidative damages as well as causing inflammation. A stick of cigarette per day will increase the risk of heart disease by 40 percent, so try as much as possible to avoid any form of smoking.
Performing a regular check-up and screening of the blood is a good way of keeping track of the bodily functions. The tips given here are important long term measures that should not be neglected. Taking these steps will ensure that you remain healthy for long, with your cardiovascular system performing at its full capacity.
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos
About the Author
Sameer Ather is an MD, PhD, cardiologist based in Birmingham, Alabama. He is passionate about educating people on how to maintain their health and make the best medical choices possible.
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