Every 43 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack, according to American Heart Association. The good news is that in most cases they can be prevented with a little organization and perseverance. We’ve highlighted four lifestyle habits that will not only minimize the risks of potential problems with your heart, they will also help you save considerable amounts of money by reducing the chances of surgeries or more complex medical care in the future.
Four small tips that make difference
Make an appointment with your doctor. Visits to the doctor should not be done only in response to a crisis, it is vital to schedule at least one medical checkup a year and get the most out of that visit. Prepare a series of questions that will cover aspects such as your genetic predisposition, weight, diet, cholesterol, medication, blood pressure and physical activities that would be most appropriate in your case and then be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions. Help your doctor by giving him as much information as possible about your medical history.
Add some exercise to your daily routine. Sedentary habits are related to the vast majority of deaths, according to the American Heart Association and cardiovascular diseases are among the firsts on the list. However, to keep these risks under control, you do not need to invest a lot of time or do intense exercise routines. A walk around your neighborhood, progressively increasing time and frequency, or a few minutes swimming laps at your local pool or closest beach can be the solution. With regular exercise, you can prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.
Managing your stress level better. Stress does not only affect the heart by causing inflammation that could lead to heart attacks, according to Dr. Deepak Bhatt, Director of the Cardiovascular Intervention Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, when people are under stress tends to comfort themselves with food high in fat and cholesterol, which definitely leads to cardiovascular diseases. Some simple steps to control stress would be:
Keep a positive attitude and smile, which will reduce stress hormone problems and increase “good cholesterol”
Meditate for a few minutes concentrating on your breathing, to reduce the risk of heart disease such as high blood pressure
Exercise to strengthen the heart muscle and maintain a healthy weight
Disconnect for 10 or 15 minutes daily to distract your mind
Improve your eating habits. The more natural foods you eat, the greater your protection against heart disease. If you do not have time in the week to cook, do it during the weekend and freeze some food for the week. If the option is to eat out, always opt for the healthiest alternatives. “Eat fish, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, but do not be afraid to drink a glass of red wine or a piece of dark chocolate every now and then,” says Julie Zumpano, RD, LD, a dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic Preventive Nutrition Program . Zumpano also advises to always keep the following foods on your grocery list: fish, seeds (preferably almonds and walnuts), fruits berries (strawberries and blueberries), spinach, dark grains (black and red beans), vegetables, wine, other fruits, asparagus, and tomatoes.
Follow these steps and in just a few weeks you will be able to measure the results that will motivate you these steps and in just a few weeks you will be able to measure the results that will motivate you to continue taking care of your heart and pocket.