tips to protect your heart
Brush your teeth
. The bacteria lurking in your mouth doesnt just cause tooth decay and bad breath. It also speeds up the rate at which plaque develop in your arteries, making you more susceptible to heart disease. The more you brush, the healthier your heart.
Get some sun
. Exposure to sunlight can help lower blood pressure, according to one UK study. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh believe that sunshine reduces nitric oxide levels in the skin and blood. Just limit exposure to 30 minutes a day to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Look on the bright side
. Optimists are less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke compared to pessimists, according to aHarvard School of Public Health review of more than 200 studies. If youre feeling down, try exercising. Just 15 minutes of exercise a day can be enough to improve your mood.
. Women who smoke more than double their risk of sudden cardiac death, according to an American Heart Association study. You dont have to be a heavy smoker to be affected even smoking an occasional cigarette can damage your heart, say experts.
Check your cholesterol
. Get your cholesterol levels checked
. The heart is a muscle, and like any muscle, it needs to be exercised to stay strong and healthy. Experts recommend doing at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise five days a week. Anything that gets you out of breath is fine like dancing, walking the dog or gardening.
. When were stressed the body produces the hormone cortisol, which is bad news forour heart consistently high levels of cortisol is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Take time out of your day to relax or take up meditation, yoga or tai chi.
Cut back on salt
. Its estimated that 75 percent of the salt we eat is already added to foods, like bread, cheese, sausages, cereals and biscuits. Experts recommend that we eat no more than 6g of salt a day
Take vitamin C
. Some studies though not all suggest that vitamin C, acting as an antioxidant, can slow down the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
. People who ate two servings of cherries a day reduced their Creactive proteins which are linked with inflammation and heart disease by 16 percent according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.
Get your sleep
. Several studies have linked poor sleep with high blood pressure. Lack of sleep is also associated with accumulation of abdominal fat, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Eat more vegetables
. People who eat seven portions of vegetables and fruit a day are 31 percent less likely to die from heart disease compared to people who eat just one, according to a study by University CollegeLondon.
Avoid simple sugars
. Simple sugars (the kind found in processed foods like white bread and biscuits) have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides which contribute to heart disease. Swap white rice, flour and pasta for healthier brown versions and keep your hands off the biscuits.
Make more friends
. Older people who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%, according to research from the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, Australia.Having a strong social network helps you deal with lifes challenges and helps combat stress and depression.
. Men who skip breakfast are 27 percent more likely to have a heart attack or die from coronary heart disease than those who eat when they wake up. According to research from Harvard University, going without food in the morning puts extra strain on the body.
Snack on walnuts
. As well as helping to reduce your cholesterol levels, snacking on a handful of walnuts each day can improve blood vessel function, according to research from Penn State University inAmerica.
. Eating one to two servings of oily fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack, say researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington. The omega3 fatty acids are believed to reduce triglycerides and lower blood pressure.
. Two sleeprelated problems that plague many people sleep deprivation and sleep apnea have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.Sleep deprivation. Over time, inadequate or poor quality sleep can increase the risk for a number of chronic health problems, including heart disease. Studies have linked shortterm sleep deprivation with several wellknown contributors to heart disease, including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blo
Check your stress at the door
. A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological factors are literally heartfelt, and can contribute to cardiac risk. Stress from all sorts of challenging situations and events plays a significant role in cardiovascular symptoms and outcome, particularly heart attack risk. The same is true for depression, anxiety, anger, hostility, and social isolation. Acting alone, each of these factors heightens your chances of developing heart problems.
Have more sex
. Getting busy at least twice a week can reduce your risk for heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing stress, says obgyn Andrew Scheinfeld, M.D., a clinical instructor at New York University Langone Medical Center. Youll still be helping your heart even if you never reach the Big O; researchers suspect that just being aroused can trigger your brain to release hormones such as dehydroepiandrosterone , which may improve circulatorysyste
Drink wine with dinner
. Yes, you read that right. In moderation, booze can actually benefit your heart. Drinking onewe repeat, oneglass of red or white wine a day can decrease the chance of dying from heart disease by 25 percent.
Get a move on
. Consider this: On a minutebyminute basis, your heart muscle labors twice as hard as your leg muscles during a sprint. And you have to work your heart out to keep it working. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise (think brisk walking or cycling) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise (i.e., cardio thats intense enough to make carrying on a conversation difficult), plus strength training at le
Calm your mind
. Stress and heart disease go hand in hand, says Martha Gulati, M.D., director of womens cardiovascular health at Ohio State University. If youre constantly frazzled, your bodys high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) can lead to rapid heartbeat and high blood pressure, a potentially deadly combo. Too much cortisol can also damage arterial linings, making it harder for blood to deliver nutrients to your organs.Knock down your stress level by hit
Floss every day
. Gum disease doesnt just make for foul breath and a mangled smile its also murder on your heart. If youre breeding bacteria between your teeth, your immune system is on chronic high alert, a condition called inflammation that taxes your vital organs, including your heart. In fact, a womans chance of having a heart attack may double if she has gum disease, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.Flossing is the best way to banish dangerous or