It’s never too soon to start thinking about taking care of our hearts so we're sharing some helpful heart health hacks to keep in mind in order to achieve and maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle.
2020 was such a challenging year of social restrictions for the good of public health that many of us may have become a bit more sedentary than in the past. We may have engaged in things like emotional eating, skipping workouts, spending less time outdoors, and all of that was most likely coupled with some additional stress. We commiserate with you; it was a tough year for all of us! A sedentary lifestyle though can have a negative effect on your heart health.
Luckily, improving your cardiovascular health doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal and simple lifestyle changes can get you back on track in no time. From being conscious about what you eat to blocking out time to catch those Zzzz’s, we are sharing some of our favorite heart health hacks below, to strengthen your heart and keep it as healthy as possible. Click here to learn more about the cardiovascular and immune benefits of AGE.
Don’t worry, these hacks will not be hard to keep up with. We chose these for a reason…they are very achievable. Living a heart-healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, anyone can do it by making a few small tweaks in their everyday routine.
Before we get into the list, we want to preface this by saying that one of the best ways to keep up these heart health hacks and habits is to repeat them for 21 days and build them into your daily routine. Eventually, you will take part in these hacks so many times that they will become second nature, and you won’t have to think twice (Richardson, 2017).
5 habits you can practice every day to achieve a more heart-healthy lifestyle:
- Eat colorful foods: It is recommended by the American Heart Association to get at least eight servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot but you can do it. Each time you feel the need to snack on something, try reaching for something fun and colorful, like an apple, cucumber, bell pepper with hummus, and you’ll be at eight servings in no time. Much healthier than reaching for a bag of chips or a handful of candy. Nowadays, lots of grocery stores even offer to-go style cups of fruits and veggies with hummus and small pieces of cheese, pretzels…etc., so take advantage! Remember: eating healthy can help you maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, while also reducing your risk for obesity and diabetes.
- Portion patrol: Eating fruits and vegetables is all well and good, but not if you’re eating two or three times what your portion-size should be. In fact, the CDC noted that portion sizes in this country have increased over the past two decades. The CDC’s research showed that portion size influences how many calories a person consumes, and may hinder the ability of individuals to accurately assess how much they are eating. This puts people at risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and more. A quick way to get the right portion size is to eat off of a smaller plate. The average dinner plate today clocks in at twelve inches, so switching to a slightly smaller plate, like eight inches, will help you control your portions (it will also make your portions looks larger since your plate is a bit smaller, win-win!).
- Catch those Z’s: Sleep is so important for a healthy heart. People who don’t sleep enough are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Also, sleep is when your body repairs itself, so you want to give it ample time. Your sleep also affects your energy levels for the next day, as well as your ability to control your weight. Insomnia is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Over time, poor sleep can also lead to unhealthy habits that can hurt your heart, including higher stress levels, less motivation to be physically active…the list goes on. Make a bedtime, and stick to it. Aim for getting 6-8 hours of sleep per night. It helps to shut off your electronic devices half an hour before bedtime, and just let the body unwind.
- Get moving: Walking improves cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, inflammation, and more. When it comes to walking for heart health, some is better than none, but more is even better. If you are new to being physically active, start with a 10-minute walk around the block each day. Try to increase the number of steps you take in a day. That could mean incorporating a daily 30-minute walk, or it could just mean parking farther away from the entrance of the store. Parking towards the perimeter of the parking lot will help get those steps in and increase your heart rate. If you are at work, once an hour, try to get up, get outside, and take a lap around the office. Walking for an average of 30 minutes or more each day can lower the risk of heart disease and stroke by 35%.
- Brush and floss: This might not sound like it is related to heart health, but you’d be surprised. There are some studies that show that dental health and cardiac health are intertwined. Gum disease, for instance, is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Poor dental health also increases the risk of a bacterial infection in the bloodstream, which can affect the heart valves, which, in turn, can lead to heart attack and stroke. So make sure to brush twice each day, and floss once.
Bonus Heart Health Hack
Try a natural supplement, one containing Aged Garlic Extract, to improve cardiovascular health. Aged Garlic Extract is one of the most heavily researched herbal medicines today and is among the most commonly used supplements in people with heart disease. To read more about AGE’s heart health benefits, check this out.
One 12-week clinical study of 88 patients with uncontrolled hypertension found that AGE reduced systolic blood pressure by 11.5 mmHg and diastolic pressure by 6.3 mmHg compared to a placebo. This same study discovered that AGE improved cholesterol levels and arterial stiffness while also reducing artery-damaging inflammation. A more recent review of 12 clinical trials reported similar results and noted that this AGE-induced reduction in blood pressure was associated with a 16-40 percent drop in the risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event.
A heart-healthy dose is 1,200 mg daily. AGE can support healthy blood pressure levels, keep bad cholesterol in check, protect LDL cholesterol from oxidation, increase adiponectin (a hormone that helps protect against inflammation), thin your blood, and stave off plaque in your arteries.
By prioritizing yourself with these heart health hacks, and practicing them each day, you are committing to living a healthier and longer life!
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.