A healthy heart starts with having the right information and using it in creative ways to build a healthy lifestyle that helps you thrive. The following 10 heart-healthy tips can help you get on the road to living a more positive, healthy, enjoyable life and avoid heart-related procedures in the future, such as balloon angioplasty or even cardiovascular surgery:
1. Quit smoking. Getting rid of this unhealthy habit will give both your heart and lungs a much-needed break and will literally be a breath of fresh air for your body. Take it slow if you must, but commit to getting rid of this habit today.
2. Control your weight. Limit portion size, eliminate junk foods, and check with your doctor if you feel you need to start a weight-loss diet.
3. Manage your blood pressure. Monitor it regularly. Use deep breathing, relaxation and visualization techniques, meditation, or yoga to let go of tension, reduce stress, and keep your blood pressure under control.
4. Increase Omega 3 dietary fats. These fats contain heart-protective essential fatty acids that help lower bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides while raising good HDL cholesterol. EPA and DHA are present in fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, and ALA is present in greens, avocados, broccoli, beans, nuts and seeds, including flaxseed, which is a particularly rich source.
5. Increase monounsaturated fats, such as those found in extra virgin olive oil. The highly recommended Mediterranean diet includes olive oil, which can be used to make delicious meals and salads that contribute to a healthy heart.
6. Cut down on saturated fat. Buying leaner cuts of meat or trimming the fat, as well lowering the amount of meat and poultry you eat in relation to vegetables and grains, is healthier for both your arteries and your digestive system. Use low-fat dairy products or cut back on the amounts you consume.
7. Avoid Trans fats. These are found in processed foods such as margarine, shortening, and the foods that contain them. Butter is healthier than margarine when used in moderation, and tropical fats such as virgin coconut and palm oil, when used judiciously, are preferable to shortening, which has been chemically altered by hydrogenation.
8. Increase dietary fiber. Make sure the grains you eat are whole grains. Whole grain foods are widely available today, making it easy to incorporate whole grain breads, cereals, crackers, tortillas, rice, and even pasta into your diet.
9. Use heart-healthy cooking methods. Avoid frying foods and try baking, broiling, barbecuing, braising, boiling or poaching, and sautéing instead. Many delicious dishes can be created using these methods.
10. Get regular exercise. Stay as active as you can throughout the day. Moderate activity, such as daily walking, can work wonders for both your heart and your outlook. Remember to check with your doctor and start slowly.
Start using the above 10 tips today to build the lifestyle that will make you not only heart-healthy but heart-happy as well.