Your heart is one of the most important organs you have. It ceaselessly supplies oxygenated blood throughout your body, and it eliminates carbon dioxide and waste. To say your heart is important is actually an understatement. In fact, your heart, despite it being tremendously vital to your life and well-being, has been neglected and treated poorly.
Due to unhealthy diets, bad habits, and a sedentary lifestyle heart disease is now the leading cause of death around the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists cardiovascular disease as the number one killer in the world, trumping HIV and Stroke. It claimed over 17.5 million lives in 2012, and that number is rapidly increasing.
But it doesn’t mean you have to accept it as your fate.
Luckily, making better lifestyle decisions can lower your rate of heart disease by as much as 83 percent. Here are a few small things you can incorporate into your daily routine that will provide a tremendous payoff in regards to health for you and your heart.
Eat a Smart Heart Breakfast
Skipping breakfast has been linked with higher cholesterol, blood pressure, and insulin levels, a larger waist line, and an unhealthy assortment of blood-fats, all risk factors for heart disease. A study at Harvard looked at the health records of over 27,000 men between the ages of 45-82 years old. After a period of 16 years, the study found that men who skipped breakfast were 27 percent more likely to experience a heart attack or to die as a result of coronary heart disease. The reason may be due to the prolonged stress of fasting, which may disrupt your metabolism in potentially life-threatening ways.
Rather than skipping your breakfast and becoming a disease statistic waiting to happen, try to incorporate a wholesome breakfast meal into your morning ritual. By eating breakfast, you’ll be more energetic, productive, and leaner, not to mention you’ll prevent a myriad of risk factors that otherwise lead to heart disease.
Try a heart healthy egg white omelet as a good source of energy and protein throughout the day rather than a high fat egg yolk. There are egg substitutes that bypass the high cholesterol found in yolks while giving you all the vitamins, nutrients, and minerals missing in egg whites. You can even add some fruit such as a side of berries for a well-rounded heart healthy morning meal.
Be More Active During the Day
Doing 30 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise 5 days a week may be impractical or unobtainable on account of a busy schedule. However, even a small amount of activity can bring in major health gains, potentially reducing your risks of heart disease by up to 40 percent. Dr. Mike Loosemore, head of the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health at University College London says that merely standing up for three hours a day can extend your life span by up to two years. This advice echoes evidence suggesting hours spent sitting down increases your risk of coronary problems and developing various cancer.
Taking short walks throughout the day will not only protect your heart but studies suggest it can help you relieve tension, depression, and anger. So by doing little such as taking small trips that requires you to walk or breaking up long sessions of sitting with a moment to stand and stretch can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease, improve your health overall, and extend your lifespan.
Flexibility may be the key to a healthy heart after a study found that people over the age of 40 who were the most limber had 30 percent less stiffness in their arteries, significantly reducing their risk for heart disease. Doing yoga or simple stretching exercises for as little as 10 to 15 minutes daily, both at the start and end of your day, will keep your arteries flexible and viable as well as make you leaner and feel better.
So don’t let the statistics scare you. You have it in your power to make small differences that will reap tremendous health benefits. Eating right, exercising properly, and keeping tabs on blood pressure and cholesterol levels while making these small lifestyle changes will help keep your heart healthy for life.