30 Ways To Take Care of Your Heart

A healthy lifestyle will make your heart healthier. Here are 10 things you can do to look after your...

A healthy lifestyle will make your heart healthier. Here are 10 things you can do to look after your heart. Use the following tips - 30 Ways to Take Charge of Your Heart Health - to embark on a heart-healthy lifestyle to fight heart disease.

1. Quit smoking.
This one does not need explanation if you want to have a healthy life.

2. Get enough sleep.
Anxiety, bad mood and irritability are not the only consequences of not getting enough sleep. Skimping on sleep can promote calcium buildup in the arteries, which can lead to a heart-attack causing plaque. 


3. Touch Her
Ten minutes of skin-to-skin contact (hand-holding, hugs) with your mate can help keep your blood pressure and pulse from spiking during stressful times, according to University of North Carolina researchers. 



4. Keep your plate bright.
The more colorful your diet is the more phytonutrients you are getting that can ward off heart disease, obesity and cancer.


5. Be active all day.
If you are active in little ways throughout the day (gardening, cleaning the house, running errands) then your heart will be healthier than the one of a person who exercises for 30-60 minutes and then sits at the computer all day long.


6. Be sweet savvy.
A diet high in sugars (just two or three sweetened drinks are already too much) leads to high blood pressure. Cut down on any refined sugars and especially high fructose corn syrup.


7. Watch a Scary Movie
Anything that causes your heart to race—slasher flicks, a good book, even being in love—also makes your heart stronger, according to researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Upsetting the rhythm once in a while is like hitting your heart's reset button, which helps it keep on ticking.


8. Try Yoga.
Yoga does not provide any cardiovascular benefits as any aerobic activity does but it lowers your levels of stress and keeps your arteries elastic. Yoga also soothes your nervous system which lowers blood pressure and makes heart rates steady.


9. Use natural sweeteners.
If you still want to satisfy your sweet cravings opt for natural sweeteners like fruit, honey and organic maple syrup because these sweet treats combine sugar (fructose) with vitamins and fiber that are so important for a healthy heart. Do not go overboard though, everything is good in moderation.


10. Follow the 80%-20% rule.
It is great to eat healthy all the time but it is virtually impossible. Leave a 20% room for any unhealthy cravings (fast food on a road trip or a big party with chips and creamy dips).




11. Tell Your Wife to Butt Out
Or you may leave her—in a hearse. Researchers in Greece found that individuals who were exposed to cigarette smoke for just 30 minutes three times a week had a 26 percent greater risk of developing heart disease than people who rarely encountered secondhand smoke.

 
12. Cut back on saturated fats.
No matter what your age and risk factors are it will help you to lower your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and live a longer life. Limit saturated fat to 7% of your daily calories (10 to 11 grams).


13. Drink red wine (in moderation.)
Red wine is considered one of the reasons Mediterranean diet is so healthy for your heart. Low amounts of alcohol together with antioxidants prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.


14. Drink More Tea
An American Heart Association study found that men who drank 2 cups of tea a day were 25 percent less likely to die of heart disease than guys who rarely touched the stuff. The reason: flavonoids in the tea, which not only improve blood vessels' ability to relax, but also thin the blood, reducing clotting.


15. Cuddle up with a fur ball.
A recent study (published in USA Today) shows that cat owners cut their risks of heart attack by almost a third. Scientists suggest that dogs provide similar benefits because both help to relieve stress of their owners.


16. Meditate 20 Minutes a Day
According to Thomas Jefferson University researchers, this daily downtime may reduce your anxiety and depression by more than 25 percent. And that's important, since a University of Florida study found that patients with coronary artery disease who had the most mental stress were three times more likely to die during the period of the study than those with the least stress.


17. Take a tech break.
Being plugged in all the time puts you on the edge and increases the production of stress hormones that cause your blood pressure to rise. Turn off your cell-phone in the evening, do not check your email and log off any IM system. Have this time to yourself, not somebody else.


18. They Really Are Good for Your Heart
Beans are a great source of homocysteine-lowering folate and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. Tulane University researchers found that people who ate four or more servings a week had a 22 percent lower risk of developing heart disease (and 75 percent fewer camping companions) than less-than-once-a-week bean eaters.


19. Enjoy your time in silence and solitude.
Make it a habit to spend some time alone weekly to let your mind float away, your stress dissolve in the air and your heart open to the miracles of the world.


20. Be happy.
According to a recent study in Nova Scotia, Canada, happiness and general positivity protects heart from any degenerative disease.


21. Laugh.
Just 15 minutes of laughter daily can boost your blood flow by 22 percent and prevent your arteries from hardening. Call a funny friend or watch a comedy every day.


22. Wash Your Hands
German researchers followed 570 people for an average of 3 years and found that those with the most antibodies (from fighting off infections) in their systems also had the most significant clogging in the arteries of their hearts, necks, and legs. Use liquid soap. Germs can live on bars.


23. Play Hard
Any regular vigorous physical activity reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, even if performed for only 5 to 10 minutes at a time, says John Yarnell, Ph.D., of Queen's University of Belfast, who authored a study on the subject.

24. Pee in the Bushes
After studying 40 people with heart disease, researchers at Taiwan University in China found that the stress of having a full bladder increases heart rate by an average of 9 beats per minute and constricts the flow of blood by 19 percent. Either could be enough to trigger a heart attack, says study author Tsai Chang-Her, M.D.

25. Use the Rotisserie
Foods cooked at high temperatures produce blood compounds called advanced glycation end products, which researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital say reduce cell elasticity and increase heart-disease risk. Three fixes: Steam your vegetables, add marinade to your meat before grilling to keep it moist, and cook foods longer at lower temperatures.


26. Be generous.
Generosity boosts happiness on an everyday basis. Start small by giving smiles to everybody around you and give as much as your heart wants to.


27. Be positive.
Both optimists and pessimists have bad days but optimists get over those days quickly while pessimists savor their sufferings and complain about their lives constantly. No matter what the day brings you choose to be positive and concentrate on good things around you.


28. Say a prayer.
Open your heart to God and he will take care of you. Say a prayer from your heart and you will feel that any of your burdens have been lifted and your heart will be touched by Him.


29. Practice gratitude.
Be grateful for what you have and for what will come, be grateful even for what you do not have because chances are that you are better off without it.


30. Try something new.
Keep your heart open to new experiences by trying something new as often as possible. This practice will keep your heart agile and young for many years and when you are 60, 70 or 100 you will not consider yourself an old wreck. You will be a person who has lived (and is still living) his/her life with a young heart.

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