5 Things You Can Do to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Over 600,000 people in America die of heart disease each year and over 6.5 million are currently living with heart disease. As the number one cause of death, more Americans are increasing their awareness of heart disease to learn how to prevent it and keep their hearts healthy.

The good news is that heart disease is largely preventable. Aside from mainstays like getting plenty of physical activity, managing your weight, and lowering your saturated fat intake, we’ve put together a list of some lesser-known ways to keep your heart healthy.

#1 - Tame your sweet tooth

Most people know that eating too much salt raises blood pressure and that saturated fat hikes up your cholesterol levels. What you may not know is that added sugar has a not-so-sweet effect on your heart health.

Research shows that eating too much added sugar significantly raises your risk of dying from heart disease. Too much refined sugar is atherogenic; this is a scientific way to say that it promotes inflammation and causes the body to produce fats that contribute to making your arteries stiff.

Sugar-sweetened beverages are by far the biggest culprits in the American diet, followed by sweet snack foods. Switching to healthier beverages like tea and snacking on naturally sweet foods like fruits is the best place to start.

#2 - Take care of your pearly whites

You may not know it, but regular dental checkups play a role in protecting your heart. There’s a connection between your oral health and heart disease. Experts suspect that the same bacteria that destroys gum tissue around your teeth go on to hitch a ride into your bloodstream, causing a low level of inflammation in your circulatory system that contributes to heart disease.

Research shows that having periodontal disease doubles your risk for heart disease. The situation is made even worse if you also have elevated cholesterol.

#3 - Stress less, laugh more    

The saying that stress can kill you isn’t just a ploy to get you to enroll in yoga classes. When it comes to your heart health, it really is best not to sweat the small stuff. While stress is a part of life, humans weren’t designed to deal with a constant onslaught of ongoing stress.

Chronic stress floods your body with a continuous stream of stress hormones that promote inflammation, raise blood pressure, and increase your risk for heart disease. Whether you’re dealing with daily stress at work or in your personal relationships, it’s important to devise strategies to manage the stress in your life.

Laughter reduces stress hormones, lowers blood pressure, improves blood flow, and helps lower the risk of heart disease. The next time you feel stressed, try watching a funny movie and laughing your way to better heart health.

#4 - Get your personality in check

If you pride yourself on working your best under pressure and having a Type A personality, you may want to rethink those traits. The Type A personality behavior pattern of being overly competitive, uptight, and impatient raises your risk for a heart attack. If you want to protect your heart, adopt more open, agreeable, less vigilant personality traits.

#5 - Adopt a pet

If you’re a dog person, you now have another reason to adopt. Pet companions, especially dogs, reduce stress and are good for your heart. People who have dogs as part of their family tend to live longer and have a lower risk of high blood pressure and heart disease. They’re also generally more active and have better cholesterol levels, both of which protect your heart.

The team at First Choice Urgent Care is devoted to providing exceptional health care. With locations throughout Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, and the Colorado, area, your wellness is our top priority.

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