Each year, over 600,000 Americans die from heart disease. Caring for your heart health can help prevent you from developing heart problems. People often assume that because of their young age, they won't be at risk. However, people are starting to suffer from heart problems earlier in life. Lifestyle changes are a big factor in preventing heart disease. Here are 5 things you can do today to help improve your heart health.
1. Swap out refined grains for whole grains.
Whole grains have more fiber and protein, and they give your body more nutrients. Refined grains, which are found in white flour and baked goods, have fewer nutrients and they have a higher glycemic load on your body. They raise your blood sugar and increase inflammation. Both increased blood sugar and inflammation contribute to the development of cardiovascular problems.
2. Go for a walk instead of sitting down.
Moderate physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk of heart problems. Many people have trouble controlling weight gain because they consume more energy than they burn. You can watch your food intake, but you can also make a conscious choice to be more active during your day. Instead of sitting down to relax in the evening with a TV show, why not take a walk around the neighborhood? You can also do small things like take the stairs instead of the elevator, and do a brief 15-minute step routine before getting in the shower each morning.
3. Drink water instead of alcohol at dinner.
Alcohol use can increase your risk of heart disease. If you drink every day, try to reduce your intake by removing one drink from your routine. A gradual reduction can help your heart. If you normally have wine with dinner, keep the bottle in the cooler and instead drink water with your meal. Don't have a nightcap of hard liquor, and try to save drinking for special occasions.
4. Eat vegetables as a snack.
Snacking can be an area where people make poor dietary choices. Snack foods are high in saturated fats and refined sugars, which both affect your heart health. Instead of choosing chips, or even crackers with cheese for a snack today, opt to eat some carrot with hummus or some sliced cucumbers with a bit of low-fat salad dressing
Taking control of your heart health does not need to be daunting. You choose your health with daily decisions, and those decisions make a big difference over time. For more information, reach out to a cardiac care center near you.