The cardiovascular (CV) System plays a fundamental role in our body by pumping blood through the heart and delivering oxygen and nutrients to our organs via our blood vessels. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can increase your chance of developing heart disease1. Here are 5 ways you can improve your heart’s health.
1. Reduce stress through meditation
There’s no question that stress can exert real physiologic effects on the body—including the heart. When stress strikes, your body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Long term release of these hormones can have a devastating impact on your health, including high blood pressure. A simple yet effective way to counterbalance the release of these hormones is through the practice of mindful meditation. Just by taking 5 minutes out of your day can help reduce your stress and reverse the negative impact stress has on your body. 2
Regular exercise keeps your body fit and your muscles strong. Leading an active life is important for the muscles in your cardiovascular system (aka, the heart). 30 minutes of brisk walking a day can make a huge difference to the health of your heart by burning excess fat, reducing blood pressure, as well reducing cholesterol.3 Get your running shoes on and start your fitness regime today!
3. Maintain a healthy weight
According to Johns Hopkins cardiologist Chiadi Ndumele, M.D, “Being very overweight puts you at risk for heart disease even if you seem otherwise healthy—that is, even if you don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes”4. It is astounding information that Australia is considered one of the most overweight nations in the world. It is important to find ways to maintain a healthy weight – most commonly done through a healthy diet and exercise.
4. Healthy Sleep Hygiene
Poor sleep hygiene may affect your body in many ways. When you have a ‘normal’ sleep, the blood pressure in you body goes down. However, long-term sleep problems may cause blood pressure to stay higher for a longer time. This may have a detrimental impact on your heart’s health.5
Some effective strategies for a good night sleep are;
- Have a good sleeping schedule – stay consistent.
- Get enough natural light and avoid artificial light a few hours before bedtime.
- Don’t eat or drink within a few hours of bedtime, especially alcohol and foods high in fat or sugar.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
It’s also important to note that if you require medication for sleep, the long-term use of them can cause possible drowsiness – an unwanted side effect.
5. Eat a Healthy Diet
One of the major contributor factors to heart disease is an unhealthy diet, so it is important that we pay attention to what we eat.6 However, the concept of healthy diet can be confusing.
The most important thing when it comes to food is to consume fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, avoid process foods and drink plenty of water.
It is important to remember that everyone’s health is unique.
You should consult with a health professional such as a Naturopath to get a tailored plan on what foods, exercise, medicines and regimes will work best for your body as an individual.
For more information visit https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/are-you-at-risk-of-heart-disease