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According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 600,000 people lose their lives each year in the United States from cardiovascular disease. No one questions the importance of having a healthy heart, but many of us do nothing or do very little to achieve it. On the other hand, there is a mistaken belief that only the elderly have to worry about caring for the heart, when in fact it is never too early to make sound decisions for the benefit of our health. And the incredible thing is that many of the best ways to protect the heart are very simple habitsto adopt. Get started now with these five changes to help you maintain a healthy body mass index, lower blood pressure, and risk of a heart attack.
A balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables, is the best medicine for the heart. Get used to regularly consuming whole grains and fish. Increase the amount of omega 3, both in food and through a supplement. Reduce or eliminate sweet drinks, trans fats, sodium, and processed meats.
2. Exercises regularly
Like any other muscle, exercises strengthen the heart. About 150 minutes (30 minutes per day) of cardiovascular exercises per week are recommended, in addition to strength exercises at least twice a week and some relaxation exercise, such as yoga or tai chi, at least once a week. And you don't have to become an athlete: Any movement is better than nothing, and even walking is one of the best activities for heart health.
3. Smoking and Alcoholic Drinking
There aren't many positive things to say about smoking, but among all the benefits of quitting smoking is reducing the chances of heart disease. As for alcoholic beverages, there is no reason to go to extremes - unless you are seriously dependent on alcohol - but you must pay attention to the quantity. For women, it is recommended not to consume more than one drink a day per day.
4. Look for information
In addition to regular visits to your general practitioner, it is important that you know your cardiovascular disease history well, at least in your immediate family. Study the most common symptoms of heart attacks and other ways to identify them early, which can increase the chances of survival: discomfort in the chest, arms, neck or back, shortness of breath, nausea and cold sweats are just some of the telltale signs.
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5. Manage stress
The relationship between stress and heart disease is still under study, but stress is known to increase risks. The body reacts to stress by increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and muscle tension. Know your personality and the possible inclination to suffer from depression, anxiety, hostility or intense emotions, and learn to deal with them in a healthy way; for example, through good nutrition, meditation and relaxation exercises.