8 tips for better heart health!
Published 15 Oct 2022 • By Candice Salomé
Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world, as well as in the UK. On average, they account for more than 160,000 deaths each year in our country.
Moreover, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), these figures are likely to increase in the years to come as cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the next global pandemic.
So how can we prevent cardiovascular disease? What can you do on a daily basis to keep your heart in good health?
We explain it all in our article!
According to Heart Research Institute UK, not only older men suffer from heart and circulatory disease: women are as much affected by it, as men. In fact, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women in the UK, and there are currently about 3.5 million women living with heart disease.
Moreover, the number of heart attacks among younger women is increasing. This phenomenon is linked to unhealthy lifestyle and hormones.
The best solution is therefore prevention. It is possible for everyone to improve their lifestyle and thus improve their heart health. And here is what we recommend!
Smoking, whether it be active or passive, has disastrous effects on our arteries. Nicotine increases heart rate, raises blood pressure, lowers good cholesterol and contributes to the formation of blood clots. Cigarettes thus increase the risk of heart attacks, sudden death, arteritis and stroke.
A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of heart disease. The easiest change you can make to your lifestyle in order to improve your heart health is to walk regularly.
It is recommended to walk at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Alternatively, 30 minutes of daily walking can be divided into 3 x 10 minutes. The benefits will be the same.
In order to take care of your heart, it is important to watch your diet. Being overweight leads to an excess of fat around the arteries, which forces the heart to work harder in order to function efficiently. In the long term, heart functions become exhausted.
It is therefore recommended to consume more fruit and vegetables and to reduce salt and fat. The latter contribute to high cholesterol and blood pressure, which are responsible for cardiovascular disease.
Some foods are particularly good for the heart, such as almonds, cherries and chickpeas, so don't hesitate to eat more of them!
Drink plenty of water!
Water not only regulates the body temperature but also helps the heart to pump more easily and keep the organs working properly. So you should drink enough of it, about 1.5 litres a day!
You should also prefer herbal teas and vegetable juices to coffee (which dehydrates) or fruit juices (which contain too much sugar).
The ability to feel thirst tends to diminish with age, so it is important to watch your water intake.
Check your cholesterol levels regularly!
Cholesterol, which is essential to our body, is actually fat that is transported through the blood by two carriers: LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein), also known as bad cholesterol, and HDL (High Density Lipoprotein), or good cholesterol.
LDL clogs the arteries while HDL cleans them. In the case of hypercholesterolemia, LDL tends to accumulate on the walls of the arteries and form blood clots, thus hindering or even preventing the passage of blood.
To prevent this, a cholesterol check-up (a simple blood test on an empty stomach) should be carried out every 5 years .
Monitor your blood pressure!
Hypertension occurs when blood pressure in the arteries is too high. This prematurely fatigues the heart by making it work too hard, and promotes atherosclerosis.
High blood pressure has no symptoms. It is therefore essential to measure your blood pressure every year, from the age of 40, or from the age of 20 if one of your parents suffers with high blood pressure.
A normal blood pressure, except in particular cases, should be less than 14/9.
Learn to manage your stress!
Chronic stress is bad for our heart. According to numerous studies, it is one of the biggest risk factors for heart attacks, after smoking and high cholesterol.
Stress accelerates heart rate, increases blood pressure and alters blood clotting. In some cases, it may even lead to smoking, drinking alcohol and eating more fat and sugar.
So it's time to start managing your stress and learn how to relax!
Get a better sleep!
Sleep is good for our health, and for our heart health in particular. American researchers have shown that it is essential to sleep neither too much nor too little.
People who sleep less than 6 hours a night have a doubled risk of stroke and heart attack. Those who sleep more than 8 hours see their risk of suffering from angina pectoris multiplied by 2 and that of having a coronary heart disease - by 1.1.
To sum up, it is important to have a regular physical activity, to eat well and sleep well, to eliminate non-essential sources of stress from our lives and, finally, to control our cholesterol and hypertension regularly!
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Prendre soin de son cœur, quelle prévention ?, Fédération Française de Cardiologie
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15 bonnes habitudes pour préserver son cœur, Femme Actuelle