There are a lot of studies and health warnings about heart disease being one of the biggest killers of women and men in the United States. How can each person protect themselves from heart problems? There are lifestyle changes, food supplements, and medications that help people avoid or live longer with heart disease. But what lifestyle changes can a person live with and which lifestyle changes are the most important to make for a healthier heart and longer life?
Food Supplements and Heart Disease
Some people put their faith in taking the right food supplements and improving their diets. It is possible that taking a food supplement can add to the heart health people are looking for. Organic bergamot supplement benefits appeal to many people worried about heart problems, elevated blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels. The value of a food supplement is determined by the ingredients used and the way the supplements are manufactured.
Using the right ingredients can make the difference between a supplement that helps and one that is disappointing. The best supplements might be organic-based with ingredients such as phenolic compounds, and the right patented ingredients. It is important to take these under the supervision of a doctor and in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
5 Lifestyle Changes That help Manage Heart Health
Mayo Clinic has advice on lifestyle changes for better heart health. It is worth changing one’s lifestyle to be healthier and live longer.
- The most important lifestyle change is to change the way a person eats to exclude bad foods and add good foods. Taking away bad foods such as those high in sugar, trans fats, and saturated fats can help. These foods include over-processed foods, junk foods, too much red meat, and full-fat dairy products. Soda pop and “low calorie” soda pop are not good for anyone.
Better choices for nutritious foods are fruits, vegetables, foods with healthy soluble fiber, foods rich with omega-3 fatty acids like fish, nuts, and flax seeds, whey protein found in dairy products, lean protein such as skinless chicken and fish, and whole grains. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is important to good health. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water to keep the body lubricated and aid in digestion to make better use of all the nutrients from eating a healthy diet.
- Don’t sit around leading an inactive life. Get up and move around by exercising 5 times a week in 30-minute intervals. Add to the exercising with physical activity such as riding a bike, working briskly, and playing enjoyable sports like golf, tennis, and more. One way to get more healthy exercise is to join an exercise group. Limiting TV and time in front of a computer to two hours a day and adding 30 minutes of physical activity a day can be a big health benefit.
- One important lifestyle change that can make a huge difference in heart health is to quit smoking. Smoking is a bad habit that affects health adversely and is addictive. Smoking can lead to cancer and heart disease. But, some damage from smoking can be reversed within three months to a year of quitting. The sooner a person quits smoking the less the damage and the more chance of reversing the existing damage.
- Drinking alcohol in excess is another bad habit that must be stopped. A healthy drinking level is one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men. This is the maximum consumption recommended. Drinking less than that is good. If a person drinks to excess often, they may have a problem with alcohol addiction. Seeking help to overcome alcoholism can help a person be healthier and happier.
- Making an effort to lose weight is also an important life change that we all find difficult. But, increasing exercise and following a healthier diet can help. Walking more, climbing stairs more, and cutting down on sweet drinks and junk food can help. But weighing too little or constant dieting that makes weight go up and down is also unhealthy. So, if a person is suffering from an eating disorder such as bulimia or anorexia, they need to get treatment. Maintaining a steady, healthy weight should be every person’s goal. People don’t have to be thin, but they do need to control weight gain or loss in healthy ways.
More Ways to Keep the Heart healthy
In addition to making the above lifestyle changes, a person must get periodic health exams and help with chronic conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and many other health problems that can put stress on the heart. If a physical exam shows that a person has heart disease, it is wise to take the doctor’s advice on not only lifestyle changes, but on taking appropriate medications to keep the condition under control.
Stress can cause strain for the heart and other serious health problems, so it is important to manage stress in healthy ways. Job stress, relationship stress, and other stress can actually make us sick. Stress can be managed with counseling, exercising and physical activities, and spiritual practices such as meditation. Some studies have shown that people who meditate regularly have lower rates of strokes, heart attacks, and death.
If a job is causing unhealthy stress, steps should be taken to reduce the stress by changes at that job or possibly finding a job with less stress. Professional counseling may be needed for many types of stress.
In the end, every part of our bodies are connected and each part affects all the other parts. So taking care of general health, weight, diet, and chronic disease can all contribute to having a healthier heart. Leading a happy life with managed stress, friends, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercises will lead to a healthier heart. If we take care of our whole body including our heart, we will feel better and live longer, so it is worth the effort to make the needed lifestyle changes.