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How to Have A Healthy Heart




Americans are more unhealthy than ever. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are increasing at alarming rates, with heart disease leading the pack. In 2008, 616,000 people died of heart disease but last year, that number was up to 787,000 people. That’s almost one in every three deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. It is important to take care of yourself so that you decrease your risk for heart disease. Today I have Darci Maxwell who wants to share with you ways to have a healthier heart.


Eat Healthy

Eating healthy is the best way to ensure that you will have a healthy heart. It is important to have a positive attitude about eating healthy. Look at healthy eating as an understanding of which foods you should eat more of rather than banning food from your diet. The first step in eating healthier is to control your portion size. Use a smaller plate or bowl when eating so that you end up eating less. Put more fruits and vegetables in your diet (at least 50% of your plate should be filled with fruits and veggies), just make sure that they are heart-healthy options like fresh fruit rather than canned fruit packed in sugar. Switch to whole grains and avoid starches. Eat plenty of healthy fat such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (found in olive oil and fish, respectively, and avoid saturated fat and trans fat. And of course, reduce your sodium intake.

Quit Smoking or Drinking

If you drink or smoke, your chances of developing heart disease increases significantly. This blog says that even moderate drinking can actually double the risk of heart attacks and strokes (however, light alcohol consumption might actually have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health). Smoking also increases the risk of heart disease. It increases heart rate, raises blood pressure, adds dangerous chemicals into your body that are harmful to your heart, and can create irregularities in the heartbeat. For the sake of your heart, give up your bad habits and live a healthier life.


Manage Stress

Many studies have shown that there is a link between stress and heart attacks. Living a stressful life releases stress hormones such as cortisol in your body, raises blood pressure, and can cause you to overeat (or eat junk), decrease exercise, and mess with your sleep schedule. Stress also can change the way that blood clots, increasing the risk of a heart attack. If you live a stressful life, it may be time for a change. First, identify the stressors in your life (finances, illness, work, relationships, legal problems, etc. are just a few examples). Then, find a way to limit those stressors and relax.  Join a yoga class, write in your journal, meditate, or relax by the side of the pool. Find something that helps you calm down, and do it often.

Exercise More

Exercising is another great way to keep your heart healthy and strong (if not one of the best). Exercising decreases your chance of developing heart disease by 50%. You should get 15-30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. If you don’t have a regular exercise program, start one! Decide how you would like to start exercising, whether you’d like to start going to the gym, join a class, or just go on walks around the block. Your exercise plan should include aerobic exercise, stretching, and strength training. Great heart healthy exercises include: jogging, swimming, biking, hiking, dancing, yoga, and stair climbing. Just make sure that you do a warmup and cool down before and after your exercise.


Get Enough Sleep

It is important to get enough sleep for many reasons, but to keep your heart healthy. Not getting enough sleep or getting poor sleep is linked to high blood pressure. While how much sleep someone needs is different for every person, you should strive to get between six and eight hours every night. If you have a hard time sleeping, try the following tips: exercise more, avoid caffeine, and alcohol for up to 5 hours before bed, develop a bedtime routine, turn off electronic devices an hour before bed, and find a way to clear your mind so that you can fall asleep. You may also want to read our post on why you should be getting enough sleep.

Let's discuss: What ways are you ensuring that you have a healthy heart? 

Annmarie John
32 Comments
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32 comments:

  1. Since my father died of heart disease at only 36, I'm well aware of my risks as I get closer to that age. I do exercise and I don't drink or smoke at all, which helps. I get scared.

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    1. I'm sure it's pretty scary because you think that since my dad died, it might happen to me, but you're doing things right and I'm sure you'll surpass your dad's age times two. You've got this!

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  2. That's definitely alarming, I didn't know the statistics were that high! This is why I tell my kids to be active and eat healthy everyday. It's okay to cave in when you're having a burger craving or something like that so long as they balance it. These tips are helpful, thank you very much.

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    1. You're very welcome Elizabeth. I try to eat as healthy as I can because I would LOVE to live for as long as I can.

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  3. other than 'getting enough sleep', i think i'm doing well in all other aspects. still not too bad i reckon?

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    1. You do need to get as much sleep as you can, 1 can totally affect the other.

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  4. I have to underscore having some exercise as something I badly need to do soon. I've started a bit. But since it's been so humid these days that I have paused my exercise routines. I'm also a bit watchful on the food I take but I'm not really on a diet. Great tips, and I think this is also helpful even for an Asian like me. :-)

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    1. Oh you and me both. I need to exercise more. Walking the dogs aren't enough and I need to get my butt to the gym.

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  5. Eat healthy, exercise frequently and have proper sleep. This would really make you a lot healthier.

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    1. It surely would. I need to follow all the above advice myself.

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  6. The most important is the food in my opinion. With so much junk food and so little exercise we're literally killing ourselves.

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    1. I have to agree with you. We do tend to eat more junk than we exercise, if we exercise at all.

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  7. Yes, good tips to have a healthy heart. I think it is good for someone to do the above actively. All these take constant effort to maintain and one shouldn't neglect the health...

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    1. We really shouldn't. We do need our health in order to live a long and fulfilled life.

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  8. Very important reminders. I really cannot understand why people would deliberately drink alcohol or smoke. These unhealthy practices have well-documented bad effects, yet some people still cannot be convinced.

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    1. Oh I drink but not to excess. I do need to cut it out though and start drinking more water than alcohol.

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  9. My family and I have always subscribed to healthy living and your tips to a healthy heart are spot on here. I think that of all the tips that you mentioned, exercise would be one of the most essential. Exercise greatly helps prevent and manage a lot of major diseases including stroke, heart disease and diabetes.

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    1. Oh exercise truly is one that we need to be doing a lot more of. I have to say that even me, I tend to slack off and need to really make it my business to get to the gym.

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  10. Sleep I think is equally important alongwith other factors. Yes, we have to take care of our heart!

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    1. We really do need to and sleep is very much something that I need to get more of.

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  11. This is such an eye opener even though we know the statistics but sometime we wait until we fall sick.

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    1. That is so true. Most people don't even go to the doctor for their yearly exam until they do become sick.

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  12. A good heart should be a achieved inside and out! These are indeed great pieces of advice :D

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    1. You've said it! Thank you for stopping by.

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  13. These are such great and important tips. I need to work on eating healthy and managing stress.

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    1. Oh you and me both. I need to work on not only eating better but working out more as well.

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  14. Thanks for the reminder, I will have a more balance diet and lead a healthier lifestyle.

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    1. I think it's easier said than done however. You've got to really make a commitment and not just say it but do it.

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  15. I am not a healthy person, since I have quite a few medical illness, so it is very important that I maintain a good heart although I must say stress is the ultimate mastermind killer of everything.

    Sighz.

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    1. Oh tell me about it. I also have a few medical issues that I'm dealing with and stress is my main thing as well. I do need to learn how to manage it better.

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  16. I thin the most important one is to eat healthy. My mom was recently diagnosed with a bunch of diseases, and by changing up her diet, her stats are now much much better.

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    1. Oh so sorry to hear about your mom but glad to hear that a diet change has shown results.

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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