Your heart plays a very special role in your body. It is responsible for pumping blood, and this blood sends nutrients and oxygen to all parts of your body. It can be easy to neglect your heart health until it starts to fail. Indeed, research reveals that only 7% of Americans have optimal heart health. The disturbing part is that most heart diseases are preventable but not reversible. Paying attention to your heart’s health will save you from spending a lot of money and time on heart conditions. And this is why you need to start maintaining your heart’s health by making little changes or forming new habits. Here are nine tips for keeping your heart healthy to live a long, fulfilling life.

  1. Watch your diet

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Changing your diet might be tough, but it is a big part of keeping your heart healthy. Unhealthy eating can influence your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Both of these are risk factors for heart disease. You may not be able to change your diet in a day, but you can gradually incorporate certain foods into your menu. You can eat whole grains, avocado, leafy vegetables and fatty fish like salmon to boost your heart health. Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce cholesterol levels. 

  1. Exercise 

Exercising is one of the best things you can do for your heart. A good and regular diet goes hand in hand with consistent exercise to maintain heart health. Like a good diet, exercise also helps to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Cardio exercises can help the heart improve its blood circulation. Better circulation prevents heart attacks. Certain exercises you can add to your exercise routine to strengthen your heart include walking, swimming, yoga or weight training. Cycling is another great choice for the weekend, and it is known to strengthen your heart muscle. Consider giving it a try.

  1. Family health history 

Knowing your family’s health history can help you take preventive measures when it comes to your health. For instance, if you know your family members have a history of heart diseases like hypertension or heart attack, you will be able to regulate your lifestyle. Once you know the history, you should go for regular checkups at the hospital.  Ensure that your cholesterol, blood sugar levels and resting heart rate are normal. 

  1. Manage stress

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Whether mental or emotional, stress causes havoc to your overall health, especially your heart. Your blood pressure can shoot up due to stress, leading to a heart attack or stroke. Feeling stressed can also make you develop unhealthy habits like smoking or overeating. It would help if you learned to manage the stress in your life. For starters, regular exercise can relieve stress, tension and anxiety. You can start with evening walks or meditation. Other ways to manage stress include getting at least seven or eight hours of sleep. You can also opt for Delta 9 gummies, which are great for calming you down and lowering your blood pressure. 

  1. Avoid smoking 

Smoking can cause permanent damage to your heart. This effect occurs because the chemicals in cigarette smoke can damage your blood vessels and reduce blood flow from your heart. According to the American Heart Association, cigarette smoking doubles your risk of stroke. Smoking can be a hard habit to break, but once you do, you will have a strong and healthy heart. If you smoke whenever you are anxious or stressed, you can consider taking up a hobby or engaging in a fun activity to distract you from smoking. If you are a nonsmoker, avoid secondhand smoke at all costs.

  1. Maintain a healthy weight 

If you have gained a few extra pounds, consider getting yourself to a healthy weight.  Extra weight can cause fatty materials to build up in your arteries. Your arteries carry blood to your heart, which can lead to a heart attack if they get clogged or damaged. Aside from that, too much fat around your waist may increase your risk for heart disease. It’s best to place your health above any temptation to get your weight back on track. It starts with little, consistent steps. Visit your local gym, hire a trainer, or find a good workout video you can try at home. Commit to maintaining a healthy diet, skipping sugary and fatty foods, and foods with excessive sodium.

  1. Dental hygiene 

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You might be wondering what your heart health has to do with dental hygiene. Poor oral health increases the risk of a bacterial infection in your bloodstream. This infection can affect your heart valves and lead to heart disease. The bacteria entering your arteries can cause arterial plaque, which will block your blood flow. To prevent this, practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice daily and visiting your dentist. 

  1. Avoid alcohol

Excessive alcohol intake can lead to many conditions, including obesity and heart disease. When you drink too much alcohol, you increase the risk of having high blood pressure. High blood pressure then strains your heart and increases the risk of stroke or a heart attack. Also, alcohol can increase your heart rate and affect your glucose levels. Additionally, it may weaken your heart muscle. If you have considered quitting, seeking professional help will be a step in the right direction. 

  1. Avoid sitting for long hours 

If you are prone to sitting for long hours a day, try moving around for a few minutes. Regular activity is crucial for exercising your heart. For a healthy amount of activity, try walking 5000 steps a day or five minutes of movement every hour. Spreading your activities throughout the day will help you stay consistent. You can also use activity trackers to alert you when you’ve sat or been inactive for too long.

Your heart is one of the vital organs in your body. Think of it as an engine. Once it stops working, everything else breaks down. For this reason, you need to prioritize your heart health.