10 ways to keep your heart healthy

There are numerous people asking how to improve heart health at a time when physical and mental wellbeing have assumed even greater importance. Heart disease and related ailments are amongst the biggest causes of fatalities throughout the world. 

Here are 10 ways that you can consider if you are wondering how to strengthen your heart. 

  1. Reduce Salt Intake- If you want to know how to maintain a healthy heart, you should reduce your overall consumption of salt. If your diet is higher in salt, it will mean that your blood pressure may go upwards as well. This means that you will have higher risks of ailing from strokes or heart diseases. The recommended maximum intake of salt (daily) is only 6 grams for adults and 3 grams for children. 2.5 grams of salt equates to roughly 1 gram of sodium. You can reduce by trying to avoid using salt at all while eating and also checking the consumption via processed items. Go for foods good for your heart while avoiding those with more than 0.6 grams of sodium and 1.5 grams of salt. 
  2. Reduce Sugar Intake- If you make a heart conditions list, you will find that many of them are triggered by excessive sugar intake and diabetes. Excessive dietary sugar may lead to people gaining weight, witnessing a spike in blood pressure, contracting diabetes and heart ailments. You should skip savouries and try options like fresh fruits and yoghurt instead. 
  3. Reduce Saturated Fats- Consuming excessive saturated fats, contained in margarine, ghee, butter, dairy fats, processed foods like pastries, cakes and pies and fatty meats too. This may increase your levels of cholesterol. You should start consuming low-fat dairy food items and semi-skimmed milk in place of full-fat options. Select lean meat cuts and avoid frying; instead, choose to grill or steam. 
  4. Eat more fruits and vegetables- Scale-up potassium in your daily diet by consuming a minimum of 5 portions of vegetables and fruits each day. Potassium helps in lowering blood pressure. The nutrients contained in vegetables and fruits, including fibre, minerals and vitamins, may greatly help in keeping your heart healthier. Some vegetables and fruits which have more soluble fibre content, may help in reducing cholesterol. These options include sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, pulses, beans, aubergine and mangoes. 
  5. Increase fish content in your diet- Oily fishes like mackerel, sardines, tuna, salmon and others are richer in Omega-3 fatty acids which will mostly benefit your heart. They contribute immensely towards the improvement of cholesterol levels. Vegetarians can get Omega-3 fats in walnuts, spinach, flaxseed, soya oil, pumpkin seeds and flaxseed oil. 
  6. Give up smoking- Smoking is one of the biggest causes of cardiovascular and heart ailments. Smokers have twice the likelihood of getting strokes/heart attacks in comparison to those who have never smoked at all. It will only damage the arterial lining while lowering the oxygen in your blood and scaling up your blood pressure. 
  7. Reduce alcohol consumption- Alcohol may impact the heart by raising blood pressure, damaging the heart muscles and causing abnormal rhythms of the heart. You do not have to give up alcohol completely; just stick with the present moderate drinking guidelines which are around 2-3 units daily for women and roughly 3-4 for men as well. 
  8. Exercise more- Studies indicate that people with lower activity levels are more likely to get heart attacks as compared to people who have higher activity levels. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise with moderate activity levels for reducing risks of coronary heart ailments. You can divide this as per your own convenience. 
  9. Lower your weight- If you weigh more than you should, you will have higher risks of blood pressure, higher cholesterol risks and type 2 diabetes risks as well. Consuming lower sugar and saturated fat content while reducing alcohol consumption, eating more vegetables and fruits and exercising more will help you shed weight and maintain a healthy figure as well. This will naturally keep heart disease risks at bay. 
  10. Control your stress- If you feel stressed almost all the time, you are likely to curb exercising, smoke/drink more and even consume unhealthy food more. Stress leads to various lifestyle ailments and may be a trigger for eventual heart disease. 

Following these tips will help you keep your heart healthy and strong in the long run.