7 Steps for a Healthy Heart
Heart disease causes more than one in every four deaths in the United States, and each year over 631,000 people die from this condition, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Each year about 785,000 Americans have a first heart attack, while another 470,000 who have already had one or more, have another.
These numbers are truly staggering because heart disease is a condition that can be prevented most of the time by leading a healthy lifestyle.
The American Heart Association, in acknowledging that better lifestyle habits can help reduce your risk for heart attack and help prevent heart disease and stroke, has come out with their new “Life’s Simple 7” steps toward a healthier heart.
They have a few smart choices on the list, but they have left out at least three extremely important additions. Let’s discuss these in detail together…
- Quit Smoking:
No doubt smoking takes a toll on your heart, and if you smoke, quitting will benefit your health.
Actually, get your nutritional program on track first, then tackle the cigarettes (this will offset the typical “sweet rewards” given after quitting smoking)
Good nutrition will minimize feelings of depression you may encounter when you quit smoking
Best way to quit smoking is cold turkey
A 10-year study found that half of all fatal heart disease cases and a quarter of all non-fatal cases are linked to being overweight and having a high body mass index (BMI) or large waist.
A general guide to determine a healthy waist size…
For Men, between 37-40 inches is overweight and more than 40 inches is obese
For Women, 31.5-34.6 inches is overweight and more than34.6 inches is obese.
Either way, there’s no better way to trim fat than eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly
- Excercise (A Must) –
Exercise not only lowers inflammation in your body, it is also one of the best weapons to fight visceral fat, which again is linked to heart disease
Exercise can drastically reduce any visceral fat, and quickly too, along with acting as a fountain of youth for your heart, making it metabolically younger
Remember you can be thin and still have visceral fat (visceral fat defined: fat that is stored in the abdominal cavity)
- Keep Blood Pressure Healthy –
Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke. It is especially dangerous because hypertension often has no warning signs or symptoms, and it is extremely common.
Risk of becoming hypertensive is greater than 90% for individuals in developed countries (according to Lancet)
Main causes of hypertension include lifestyle factors that you have control over, primarily insulin level (ex: not exercising, eating a high-grain and high-sugar diet)
- Insulin Levels –
Studies have shown that people with a fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dl had a nearly 300% increase higher risk of having coronary heart disease than people with a level below 79mg/dl
Normal fasting blood glucose is below 100mg/dl, but for optimal health, it should be closer to 80.
Reduce your intake of grains, including corn-based foods, and all sweets will help to lower levels
fasting defined as only water for 8 hours before testing
- Healthy Cholesterol –
Be aware that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease (see fasting blood sugar as a primary indicator)
HDL/Cholesterol ratio: HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your total cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent
Triglyceride/HDL ratios: You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2
- Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet –
Include plenty of whole, fresh, organic foods, at least one-third of which should be raw
Plenty of omega-3 fats, such as those from krill oil, as they are phenomenal for your heart
P.S. – A few extra tips, optimize Vitamin D Level, Reduce Stress if possible, Get Good Sleep
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