In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds according to the CDC. While heart attacks are common, there are things you can do to lower your risk. Here are a few ways on how you can make your heart happy.
- Lose weight. Obesity increases weight and makes the heart work much harder. By losing the weight, you take some of the strain off your heart and allow it to work more efficiently.
- The food you eat plays a big role in making your heart happy. Some diets that are helpful in lowering your risk of a heart attack include the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. Other foods that make your heart happy and healthy include fish, veggies, chicken breast, lean steak, and low fat and low salt diets. Things like potato chips, French fries, cakes, cookies, candy and fried foods STRESS the heart so try to avoid these.
- Getting your heart rate up by being active is a great way to help your heart. It doesn’t have to be hard either – even walking for 30-40 minutes a day can help your heart. If you’re trying to lower your risk of a heart attack, get your heart rate up!
- Stop smoking. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting.
- Decrease alcohol and caffeine intake. Try to limit alcoholic and/or caffeinated beverages to 1-2 a day, but no more.
- Decrease your stress level. This can involve take a few minutes each day to be quiet, reflect, journal or meditate. Other ways to decrease stress include being outdoors, exercising, or just doing some deep breathing. While we can’t always control what responsibilities we have, if you are feeling really stressed out, be selective in what you take on with the things you can control. Saying no to things that will unnecessarily add to your load will help reduce stress.
- No drugs. Even Marijuana has been proven to increase your risk of having a heart attack.
- Get a yearly physical. Your doctor can help monitor and control the risk factors of a heart attack or stroke and some medical conditions that really hurt your heart are high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
Remember, you only have ONE heart! Be nice to it!