Diseases of the heart are among the leading causes of death in the country. The start of the new year is the ideal time to form heart healthy habits. Following these heart healthy habits can significantly lower your risk for cardiovascular disease and promote overall health and wellbeing.
Eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and chicken. Limit your intake of sugary drinks, processed and red meats, trans fats, and sodium.
Stay active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week.
Know your numbers.
- Maintain a blood pressure of less than 140/90 mm Hg. If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, your blood pressure should be less than 130/80 mm Hg.
- Keep your LDL cholesterol below 100 mg/DL. LDL is called “bad” cholesterol because it contributes to the formation of plaque, which can clog your arteries and cause heart attacks or stroke.
- The optimal Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. A BMI over 25 is considered overweight, while over 30 is considered obese. Overweight and obesity are both risk factors for heart disease.
Get adequate sleep. Aim for 6 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep increases heart disease risk in several ways. Sleep loss leads to weight gain and spikes in inflammatory biomarkers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP) which is a reliable predictor of heart attacks.
Manage stress. Stress raises blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk for a heart attack. Simple but effective strategies to manage stress include:
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, among others.
- Learn time management skills.
Shop at Watsons for your heart health medications and other essential healthcare products. Talk to your doctor for more information about heart-healthy lifestyle.