As you age, the heart ages too, meaning it can’t process the blood as fast or as efficient as earlier stages in life. However, the heart can adapt to change if the person changes too. For effective results, the person must approach eating, exercising, emotions, and stress differently.
Do Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet
A breakfast, lunch, and dinner consisting of fruits and vegetables will lower cholesterol and blood pressure while nourishing the heart’s walls and interior with the right ingredients. Add fiber, nuts, fish, avocados, olive oil, sodium-free foods, and water to the diet for mineral, vitamin, antioxidant, and omega-3 fatty acid benefits. Avoid red meat, processed foods, fried foods, fatty foods, or salty foods. Unless you’ve been told by your doctor that you should completely abstain from any of these foods, the occasional hamburger won’t cause much trouble. Still, cutting back on these kinds of foods has tangible benefits, as well as causing less of a strain on your heart. While sodium is necessary, too much creates excess fluid, which is counterproductive to cardiovascular health.
Don’t Smoke or Consume Alcohol
Two additional things to remove from a heart-healthy diet are smoking and alcoholic beverages. Cigarette and cigar smoke cause heart attacks, heart disease, and coronary heart disease. This is due to nicotine, an ingredient in cigarettes and cigars, stopping blood flow by constricting the vessels, which causes blood pressure to rise. Alcohol consumption is harmful when you consume more than three beverages daily. This abuse to the heart raises blood pressure and damages the heart. A good general rule for taking care of your heart is taking things in moderation.
Do Exercise Regularly
Vascular surgeons will recommend fitness routines that focus on getting the heart rate up such as aerobics, weight lifting, and yoga. It is beneficial for the heart through circulation and the body through weight loss. Mix it with regular exercise for improved cholesterol levels, lowered blood pressure, lowered stress, and a strengthened heart/cardiovascular system. Do thirty minutes of exercise minimum for best results. As you exercise, the heart-pumping routines can dry out the body’s water supply. Therefore, stay hydrated by drinking water. Consult your doctor to find out what exercise would work for you. Even just taking a short walk daily, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or similar small things can help maintain a healthy heart.
While it’s easier said than done, try to remove or eliminate stress from your life. Too much stress can cause heart disease and hypertension. Alleviate stress by exercising, meditation, and listening to calming music. If the stressful thoughts resurface, think about the positive side of the situation and offer self-praise for the good times. This can help relieve the emotional toll straining the heart. Obviously, mental illness can contribute to your stress and cannot be waved away with positive thinking alone. Seeing a therapist, making a plan, and starting a prescription can be a great help. Though it can be difficult, don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help.
A person cannot continue comfortable habits related to poor eating, lack of exercise, and elevated stress levels. Your body comes first, so it’s time to ensure the body keeps up with your demands. Get energized with exercise, eat healthy foods that taste good, treat your mental illness, and cut out stressful people and situations. All these things can be overwhelming, so take one step at a time and accommodate your plan to your specific needs and situation. If you follow the advice in this article, you will have a healthier heart.