One in four deaths in the United States is due to heart disease, but there are simple ways you can greatly reduce your risk and lead a heart-healthy life. It all starts with small decisions to move towards a more active, nutrition-rich, balanced lifestyle.
If you work at a desk 9-5, M-F, this is especially important for you. Making the effort to take a lap around the building, take the stairs up to your office, or get a quick walk in at lunch can help improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels and help maintain a healthy body weight.
Read Your Labels
We all know making nutritious food choices will lead to better overall health, but what about the foods we think are healthy but aren’t really so? Think yogurts, protein bars, and salad dressings–many of these foods we think are nutritious carry high sources of sugar. That doesn’t mean you ditch these foods altogether, but you could try making low-sugar versions of your own or simply check food labels before consuming. For reference, an 8oz serving of yogurt contains, on average, 17-33g of sugar. That’s about 6-8 sugar cubes!
Manage Your Stress
Now that we’ve got you all stressed about making heart-conscious diet and exercise choices, let’s take some deep breaths. High levels of stress can cause high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but it can also cause us to choose common unhealthy coping mechanisms like overeating, physical inactivity, and turning to substance abuse. Find what works for you, but taking 10 minutes each morning and night to do breathing exercises and light stretching can help combat and ease stress.
If you follow tips one, two, and three, this part won’t be so difficult. Maintaining a healthy weight for your height, age, and gender helps keep blood pressure levels down and prevent other diseases that negatively impact your heart’s health, like diabetes.
Incorporating these healthy habits and choices into your everyday life will help cultivate a lifestyle that could potentially reduce your risk of getting heart disease and boost your wellbeing. How are you staying heart healthy?
I didn’t realize that there was so much sugar in ordinary everyday products! I need to start reading the labels better. Great article!