Natural Heart Health: How to Prevent Heart Disease Naturally
“Heart disease” is a broad term that includes both heart diseases (such as AFIB and coronary artery disease) and cardiac events (such as heart attack, heart failure and stroke). Heart disease consistently ranks as the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women, so it is important to practice natural heart health care to lower your risk of heart disease.
7 Natural Heart Health Tips to Prevent Heart Disease
- Eat a heart-healthy diet – Maintaining a good diet is essential for natural heart health, especially if you have a family history of heart disease. A healthy diet can lower your blood pressure and cholesterol and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes (diabetes doubles your risk of developing heart disease). You should limit your intake of salt, processed carbohydrates, sugars, and saturated fats. Instead, focus on healthy fats (such as olive oil, avocados and oily fish), whole grains, beans and legumes, fruits and veggies, and lean meats.
- Get regular exercise – Regular physical exercise is key to natural heart health. You should strive for at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day, whether it is something moderate (like walking) or vigorous (like running). Strength training also helps build cardiovascular fitness by improving heart and lung function and reducing the risk of coronary disease. But if your job involves sitting for seven hours or more a day, you may need to do more than hit the gym every day. Prolonged sitting is linked to a significant increased risk of heart disease. Experts recommend getting up and moving every half hour or using a standing desk to combat the effects of prolonged sitting.
- Manage stress – Stress is one of the leading risk factors for heart disease, causing high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and even triggering heart attacks. Some people also cope with stress in unhealthy ways – such as overeating, smoking or drinking – which can also contribute to heart disease. Instead, relieve stress naturally through physical activity, relaxation exercises, meditation, hobbies, listening to music, spending time with friends and family, etc.
- Get quality sleep – Adults need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Not getting enough sleep increases the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, and depression. Developing healthy sleep habits, such as going to bed at the same time every night and not using electronics for an hour before bed, can help ensure you get restful sleep. If you have been getting enough sleep but still feel tired and unable to function throughout the day, you should be evaluated for sleep apnea (a condition that also increases the risk of heart disease).
- Don’t smoke or use tobacco – Quitting tobacco is one of the best things you can do for your heart. The chemicals in tobacco damage your heart and blood vessels and harden your arteries. Luckily, quitting smoking reduces your risk of heart disease immediately, and within a year, your risk of heart disease drops to about half that of a smoker.
- Limit alcohol intake – Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, cardiomyopathy and obesity. It is recommended that men drink no more than two alcoholic drinks per day and women drink no more than one.
- Avoid foods that cause inflammation – Inflammation creates lesions on arterial walls which the body then “bandages” with cholesterol. This eventually becomes plaque, and inflammation also weakens the stability of the plaque and increases the risk of a heart attack. Leaky gut is a primary factor in chronic inflammation, so it is important to avoid foods that worsen the inflammation, such as gluten and dairy. For our patients with leaky gut, we provide a personalized diet plan to avoid food sensitivities and intolerances and help heal the gut.
Learn More About Natural Heart Health Through Anchor Wellness Center
If you need help improving your heart health, call Anchor Wellness Center today at (832) 246-8437 and schedule a consultation with Dr. Minni Malhotra, MD, FAARM, ABAARM. As a Board Certified physician in Family Medicine as well as Board Certified with the American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Malhotra can evaluate your heart health and provide you with a personalized plan to lower your risk of heart disease.