Our heart is indeed a muscular wonder that plays an irreplaceable and invaluable role in our life and existence. As such, its importance cannot be overstated, as a healthy heart is vital for a healthy, fruitful life. Therefore, it is very important for us to do what it takes to keep our heart going strong, for long. Here are some simple habits that we can incorporate into our daily lives:
- Eat healthy, stay healthy
‘A man is what he eats’ goes a simple adage. This is the most basic step and is the foundation stone for building a healthy heart. Eating the right quantity and quality of food which includes all the essential nutrients (yes, even fats!) in the right proportion is of utmost importance. Skip the visually appealing, processed foods containing trans fats and opt for a healthier diet rich in fruits, coarse grains, nuts and vegetables. Remember, go nuts and go fish! (pun intended)
- Get Moving
This is a no-brainer, really. Yet, despite the well-publicised benefits of regular exercise, it is often neglected. Gruelling lifestyle with a hectic work schedule is usually cited as a reason for giving exercise a go-by. But, devoting some amount of time for exercise every day can go a long way in keeping your heart young and healthy.
- Dental Hygiene
This may not seem obvious at first, but good oral health and the condition of the heart go hand-in-hand. Studies have shown that gum disease and heart disease share common risk factors, as bacteria involved in the development of gum disease can enter the blood stream and cause inflammation of blood vessels, which in turn increases the risk of a heart attack. So, make sure to brush and floss your teeth twice a day for a minty fresh breath and a healthy heart.
- Get your beauty sleep
Yes, you heard it right! Our body needs adequate rest in order to repair and rejuvenate itself, and sleep is one of the best ways to do it. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep on most days should be a priority for all.
- Smoking kills!
We are not referring only to active smokers; even those who do not actually smoke, but hang around those who do, are equally at risk, as they tend to inhale the second-hand smoke and hence become passive smokers. This can result in diseases like lung cancer and inflammation, which are welcome signs for a stroke. So, kick the butt and ensure others around you do the same.
- Watch your weight
Being overweight is as bad for your heart as it is for your appearance. Lunging around the extra fat, especially around the abdomen and limbs, can put your heart under enormous pressure, making it susceptible for heart attacks. So, shed those extra kilos and look healthy both externally as well as internally.
- Manage your stress levels
It is easy to let your stress get the better of you, and the modern day hectic lifestyle has certainly not helped matters. Use techniques like yoga and exercise to lessen the stress on your heart.
- One drink too many!
Occasional consumption of alcoholic drinks doesn’t make much of a difference, but getting regularly tipsy and drunk can wear your heart, and your friends, down! Keep a strict check on the number of glasses you empty all the time, and your heart will thank you for it.
- Control your salt intake
Eating canned, packaged or processed foods frequently can make your blood pressure levels shoot up and dramatically increase your risk of heart diseases. Instead, opt for homemade meals which contain less amounts of sodium and, as a complementary measure, increase your intake of potassium-rich foods, such as bananas.
- Love what you do, and do what you love
Finally, enjoying what you do can work wonders on your emotional well-being and your heart. Connect with your family, talk to your friends, and indulge in a creative hobby or two. Your heart will be the better for it.