Heart Health Resolutions Checklist
There are some heart risks you can’t affect, like your age and your genes. But there are many you can change … like your cholesterol, diet, exercise, smoking, weight, blood pressure and more! Here are a few of the resolutions you should consider for a healthier heart this year.
1. Drink more water
Drinking water helps flush toxins out of your body and boosts your immune system. Research has also linked heart disease to how much water you consume . So don’t pass up that glass of agua — your heart will thank you for it!
2. Eliminate processed foods
High fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, aspartame … oh my! All those boxed and packaged foods have lots of ingredients we can’t even pronounce. Our bodies run better on natural ingredients than on chemicals flavors. Check labels and avoid extra salt, sugar and artificial flavors. Choose more fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
3. Cut the caffeine
Whether it’s soda or coffee, it’s hard to ditch the caffeine. Start by going halfsies … half caff, half decaf. Then work your way toward full decaf. You can do it! We believe in you.
4. Add more fiber
Make a simple switch to add more fiber to your diet. Swap out white bread for whole grain bread. Those whole grains give an extra boost of fiber to help your heart.
5. Start moving
This is probably the most common new year’s resolution: exercise. If you’re a certified couch potato, start out by taking a quick walk down your street when you get the mail. Then make it a walk around the block. Keep extending your walk until you’ve worked up to 30 minutes or more a day. Your heart and blood will be pumping and you may start to see the benefit on your scale too.
6. Minimize the pounds
Combine your newly found love of walking and exercise with your new eating habits, and you’re likely to see the scale tipping in your favor. Fewer excess pounds means less stress on your heart
7. Ask the right questions
One contributing factor to your risk of heart disease is predisposition based on your genes. It’s important to learn about your family medical history and background. If you find out that a relative has heart disease, had a heart attack or any other heart-related ailment, it’s important to discuss that information with your doctor.
8. Stop the smoke
Smokers are up to four times more likely to develop coronary disease. Not to mention all of the other negative health effects linked to smoking. But it can be really hard to quit on your own. Find a smoking cessation program near you, and make this the year you ditch the sticks once and for all. More than just your heart will thank you for it.
9. Do something about your stress
Stress can be really hard on your heart. Adrenaline can increase your heart rate and increase your blood pressure. It’s important to find ways to reduce your stress levels. If you just have to make it through that stressful, short term project, find ways to cope like yoga and exercise. Getting a good night’s sleep will also help lower your stress levels.
10. See your doctor for a heart screen
If you have a history of heart disease, or you’re just concerned about how your lifestyle has taken a toll on your heart, make time to see a professional. Your doctor can run some simple, non-invasive tests to see how your heart’s holding up and if you need to dig further. Get ahead of any potential problems with a simple visit to your primary care physician.
This article is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as or substituted for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health care provider with any questions about your health or a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking medical advice because of something you have read on the internet.