Natural ways to reduce the risk of heart disease

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the the heart is a very vital organ in the body. From the moment it begins to beat from around the sixth or seventh week or so while a baby is still developing in the womb, it continues to beat for the rest of its life. The heart circulates blood throughout the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the cells while removing carbon dioxide and other metabolic wastes from the cells for excretion. There are a number of factors that can put heart health at risk and put a person at risk for developing heart disease. However, there are a number of natural ways a person can reduce the risk of heart disease. Natural ways include having regular sex. Continue reading …

Go for a walk

Just 40 minutes three or four times a week (or 25 minutes of more intense exercise, such as jogging) can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. You don’t have to do everything at the same time. Even 10 minutes at a time is good for your heart. Take the dog or meet a friend at the park. If you are new to the exercise or relapsing into it, start slowly. Talk to your doctor to see if you are healthy enough to exercise.

Meet up with a friend for lunch

Literally, your boyfriend can be good for your heart. Research has shown that being alone, or perhaps more importantly feeling alone, is as bad for the heart as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, or not exercising. It’s not how often you see people that matters, but how connected you feel to others. So make plans with an old friend. Or join a club and meet new ones.

Eat more fruits and vegetables

Nutrients and fiber (and their low calorie and fat content) make them heart healthy. But they also contain antioxidants, which can help protect your cells from damage that can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Try to incorporate different colors of products into your diet. You can also add them to foods you already enjoy, like loading a pizza with veggies or adding fruit to a bowl of cereal.

Taste the nuts

The fiber, unsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids in nuts can help your body reduce inflammation, “bad” LDL cholesterol, and plaque buildup in blood vessels, all of which are linked to heart disease. They might also protect against blood clots that cause strokes. It probably doesn’t matter much which type of nuts you choose, but don’t overdo it – they are high in calories. About 4 small handfuls per week of unsalted nuts should be enough.

Serve the salmon

Two servings per week of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines or tuna can help your heart health. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish may be one of them, but other nutrients can help as well. There is a debate between farmed salmon and wild salmon. Some say wild fish contain less contaminants like chemicals and antibiotics. Others point out that laws regulate the growth and harvest of American farmed Atlantic salmon. Supplements may not have the same benefits.

Go beyond the gym

It’s not just one daily workout that lowers your risk of heart disease; it’s how active you are all day. Even if you have an exercise routine, being a couch potato the rest of the day can still be harmful to your health. Gardening, playing with your kids, walking to the bus, and even cleaning the house are great ways to stay awake and move.

To do yoga

It’s not just exercise, it’s also a way to calm your mind and relieve stress. It can lower your heart rate and blood pressure and make you less anxious, which is good for your heart. If yoga isn’t your thing, take the time to relax and reduce stress in other healthy ways, like meditation, listening to music, or a hobby you enjoy.

Get at least seven hours of sleep per night

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Your body needs long periods of deep rest. During this time, your heart rate and blood pressure drop for a while, which is essential for your health. If you always get less than seven hours of sleep, your body can start making chemicals that stop these things from happening. Less sleep is also linked to inflammation and high blood sugar, which can be bad for your heart.

Find out if you have sleep apnea

Do you snore loudly, wake up short of breath, or feel tired all day after a full night’s rest? Consult your doctor. These are signs of sleep apnea, a condition that can increase your risk for stroke, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Your doctor can help you treat it, which will help you sleep better and protect your heart.

Stop smoking

Smoking increases blood pressure, makes it harder to exercise, and makes your blood more likely to clot, which can lead to stroke. But your chances of having a heart attack go down only 24 hours after your last cigarette. So consult your doctor or consult groups like the American Heart Association for resources that can help you quit smoking.

Having sex

You are less likely to have heart disease if you have sex two or three times a week, compared to once a month. Scientists are not sure exactly why. Sex itself can help protect the heart. Or it could be that healthier people are having more sex. Anyway, what have you got to lose?

Stay at a healthy weight

Extra kilograms increase your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes, all of which are linked to heart disease. Don’t rely on fad diets or supplements to slim down, however. Exercise and the right amount of healthy foods are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about how to measure your body mass index (BMI) to find out if you need to lose weight.

Don’t just sit there

Heart disease is more likely if you sit all day. And it’s not just because you burn fewer calories, it’s the sitting position that seems to do it. It can change the way your body processes sugar and fat, which are closely linked to heart disease. Try to interrupt long periods of sitting at work and at home. Get up and move around at least once an hour.

Get regular exams

Your doctor can determine if your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are likely to damage your heart and blood vessels. The sooner you find these problems, the sooner you can start treating them. They may also want to test you for diabetes. If you have any of these conditions, your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes and medications to protect your heart.

• Adapted from webmd.com


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