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How to Keep Your Heart Healthy? – A Guide to a Healthy Heart

An organ that never truly stops working, the heart is at the center of all systems and functions of the human body. A slight change in the functioning of the heart can cause multiple, and in some cases exponential, repercussions in the body. Each and every health organization in the world focuses on the health of the heart. The ever-increasing pace of the world has increased the number of factors that affect the heart, directly or indirectly. Thus, it makes it more important for us to care for the heart, and make sure that we take necessary steps to counter the factors that might affect the heart.

Basic Medical Terms Associated with the Heart

Many a time we miss out on the important health tips and remedies because we do not fully understand basic heart terminology. Here is a list of a few terms that are simple to learn and will help us understand what to take care of while caring for the heart.

  • Arrhythmia – A word that literally means irregular rhythm, arrhythmia refers to the irregular beating of the heart. It generally causes dizziness, chest pain, and sudden fainting.
  • Cardiac Arrest & Heart Attack – People usually consider these two terms to be synonyms, but this isn’t the case. A cardiac arrest is the sudden stopping of the heart, ceasing the blood flow in the entire body. Heart attack, on the other hand, is the inadequate supply of blood to the heart causing a section of muscles of the heart to die.
  • Defibrillation – It is a technique that uses a high voltage electric shock to stop the fast heart rhythm or to revive a ceasing rhythm of the heart.
  • Heart Rate – Heart rate is the number of times the heart beats in a minute. The average healthy heart rate of a human being is 72 beats per minute.
  • Hypertension & Hypotension – Pertaining to blood pressure, hypertension refers to a high blood pressure situation whereas hypotension refers to low blood pressure.
  • Hemorrhage – An excessive loss of blood, either internal or external. External is often called bleeding whereas internal is called hemorrhage.

Conditions That Affect the Heart

There is a wide range of heart conditions or diseases that affect the functioning of the heart that lead to other conditions and sometimes can even be fatal. Here is a list of some of the most common heart conditions that affect a large population in the US.

  • Congenital Heart Disease – This is an umbrella term for all those conditions or deformities that affect the heart from childbirth. Septal defects, obstruction defects, and cyanotic heart disease are some of the common congenital heart diseases that affect a person.
  • Coronary Heart Conditions – These conditions affect the coronary arteries of the heart. Damage or diseased coronary arteries can reduce the amount of blood and oxygen received by the heart thus affecting the health of the heart.
  • Heart Failure – Heart failure makes the heart unable to pump blood efficiently around the body. It usually affects only one side of the heart and can increase the chances of increased or reduced blood pressure and can leave the heart too stiff to pump blood.
  • Heart Attack – When an interrupted blood flow causes a section of muscles in the heart to lose function, it is known as a heart attack. Usually, a blood clot or a reduced function of the heart causes a heart attack.
  • Cardiac Arrest – Cardiac arrest is the sudden stopping of the heart. It is caused by a reduced flow of blood to the heart which causes a rapid slowing down of the heart rate. It is fatal if not treated within minutes.
  • Arrhythmia and Tachycardia – Irregular beating of the heart called arrhythmia or increased heart rate called tachycardia is a dangerous sign and can lead to multiple conditions and diseases that can further damage the heart. 

Taking Care of the Heart

There is a wide range of lifestyle changes one must undertake to ensure that the heart functions properly. A healthy heart is a sign of a healthy body and so it is very important that we incorporate these healthy habits in our daily life to keep the heart-healthy.

Exercises to Keep the Heart Healthy

There are several exercise routines one can schedule in their daily life to help enhance the health of the heart by increasing the strength of the muscles and enhancing overall blood circulation.

  • Aerobic Exercises – Also known as cardio training or aerobic training, these exercises are designed to increase the functioning of the heart and increase breathing. Activities like cycling, running, jogging, playing sports, etc are a part of cardio training. If you suffer from joint pain or injuries, you can choose from light cardio exercises such as swimming & walking.
  • Strength ExercisesWeight training, resistance training, yoga, etc. are designed to enhance and training the muscles of the body. The extra stretch of training strengthens the muscles of the heart thus increasing the health of the heart which in turn increases the overall health of the body
  • Stretching ExercisesStretching is the simplest way to improve basic blood circulation and muscle health. A 10-minute routine of stretching all body muscles and joints can help enhance blood circulation and strengthen the muscles of the body.
Running Stretching Exercises Strength Exercises

 

These exercises can aid in burning calories, reducing LDL or bad cholesterol, boosting HDL or good cholesterol, and keeps your blood pressure in check.

 

There are a few precautions that one must take while exercising to make sure they do not exhaust themselves or complicate the functioning of the heart. These precautions include:

  • Get medical help if you feel pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Stop exercising if you have trouble breathing properly
  • Prevent exercising for long times to increase results
  • Using the right kind exercise equipment to avoid injuries

Eating Healthy to Care for the Heart

A change in the diet is paramount to ensure the enhanced overall health of the heart. There are a wide range of things one can incorporate in the diet to make sure their heart functions properly all the time. Here is a list of some of the important things one must consider:

  • Limit Unhealthy Fats – Saturated fats and trans-fats increase blood cholesterol levels and increase the chances of coronary heart disease. It also reduces the chances of heart attack and stroke. One can consume small amounts of saturated fats, but trans-fats should be completely avoided.
  • Increase Vegetables and Fruits – A high source of vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fruits are pillars to a strong and healthy diet plan. They are low in calorie content and high in fiber content. Vegetables and fruits increase blood circulation, enhance the strength of muscles, improve the functioning of the digestive and excretory system, and prevent cardiovascular diseases.
  • Opt for Whole Grains - Refined grains that we usually eat contain less protein and fiber. Whole grains such as faro, quinoa, or barley are known to play a vital role in regulating blood pressure and maintaining heart health. They are easily digested by the body and enhance the digestive as well as the excretory system of the body
  • Reduce Intake of Sodium – Excessive consumption of sodium contributes to the increase in blood pressure thus increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease. Salt is one of the most common sources of sodium in our food and reducing salt can be the first step at reducing sodium intake. Fast foods such as burgers, pizzas, and much more contain a lot of complex sodium compounds thus causing further problems for the heart.
  • Consume Low Fat Protein Foods – White meat such as fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, and poultry are sources of reduced-fat and good protein. As compared to red meat such as lamb or beef, these meats have reduced complex fat content and a lesser amount of unhealthy oils. Controlled consumption of red meat is recommended to provide a great source of protein as well as reducing the chances of heart disease.
Consume Low Fat Protein Foods Multigrain Increase Vegetables and Fruits

 

There is a long list of foods that are proven to improve the health of the heart by controlled and regular consumption. One should look to add these foods in our daily diet, and so, we have listed a few important food items you should include in your food schedule from day one:

 

  • Leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, celery, lettuce, etc
  • Berries such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and mulberries
  • Fish oil and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna loaded with omega-3 fatty acids
  • Beans that contain resistant starch, fibers, and proteins
  • Walnuts are a great source of magnesium, copper, and manganese. Also, a great source of fiber
  • Avocados contain most of the heart-healthy mono-saturated fats to reduce cholesterol
  • Tomatoes are rich with antioxidants, especially lycopene which reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Garlic is a great ingredient known to contain allicin which helps in reducing the risk of blood clots and stroke
  • Olive oil is rich in antioxidants which reduce the risk of chronic diseases
  • Green tea contains huge amounts of polyphenols and catechins which prevent cell damage and inflammation

At HPFY, we aim to create a holistic environment for health and wellness that provides everything one needs to maintain a healthy heart, which includes tips, remedies, and a wide range of products for enhancing overall heart health and body health.

 

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