While regular exercise and a healthy diet come a long way in ensuring that your heart remains healthy, taking care of these 4 additional things can greatly reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Replace trans fats with healthy fats: Industry-produced fats found in packaged goods, snacks and fried fast foods contain a lot of trans fats. While the human body requires saturated, poly-saturated and unsaturated fats, trans fats only clog the arteries by raising bad cholesterol levels (LDL) and lowering good cholesterol levels (HDL). Eliminating trans fats from one’s diet can improve the flow of blood throughout the body and reduce the risk of developing chronic cardiac ailments. Make it a habit to read the list of ingredients before buying any packaged foods and ensure that it contains 0 percent trans fats.
- Get enough sleep: According to a recent study conducted on 3,000 adults over the age of 45, individuals who sleep for less than 6 hours per night are twice as likely to have a heart attack or stroke as compared to those who sleep for 6 to 8 hours every night. The reason behind this could be that too little sleep causes disruptions in underlying health conditions and biological processes such as blood pressure and inflammation. If you suffer from a condition like sleep apnea, it is important to get it treated immediately as it is linked with heart disease and arrhythmias.
- Stay active throughout the day: Research has suggested that staying seated for a long duration is bad for your health, no matter how much exercise you get every day. As most corporate employees lead a sedentary lifestyle, they end up sitting in their desk most of the time. After combining results from several studies, researchers found an associated 147 percent increase in cardiovascular events and a 90 percent increase in deaths. Sitting for long periods of time also increases the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis or blood clot. The best way to combat the negative effects of this sedentary lifestyle is by taking steps to remain active all the time. Simple changes like parking a little distance away from office, taking regular short walks or using a standing work station can bring a huge difference to your heart health.
- Avoid secondhand smoke: Several studies have revealed that the risk of developing heart disease is almost 30 percent higher for people who are exposed to secondhand smoke. According to American Heart Association, exposure to tobacco smoke leads to more than 34,000 premature deaths due to heart disease. Even non-smokers who have either high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol are at an increased risk of developing heart disease due to secondhand smoke. The chemical fumes released along with cigarette smoke facilitate the buildup of plaque in the arteries; restricting the flow of blood and increasing risk of chronic heart disease.