Better Heart Health With 6 Simple Tips

Better Heart Health With 6 Simple Tips

Better heart health does not happen over night or without some effort.

If you strive for better heart health, and we all should, there are some decisions you can make to get you started on the path to better heart health and decrease your risk of heart attacks, strokes and peripheral vascular disease.

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The following are 6 tips you can do today to boost your heart health, so you don’t fall victim to heart attacks, strokes, or peripheral vascular disease:

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Coronary Artery Disease

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Look through your pantry.

There are things you can eat that will increase your risk for heart disease, just as there are things you can eat that will reduce your risk of heart disease.

Check your pantry for foods that are high in cholesterol, such as meats, high fat dairy products, and certain processed foods.

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Heart Healthy Diet

Processed foods are also high in bad fats, such as trans fats, although the US government has made progress in reducing trans fats in the foods you purchase. Look for foods that are high in dietary sugar and replace them with low sugar foods and foods that contain no sugar.

Instead of red meat, you can choose fatty fish, which are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are considered heart healthy.

Instead of cakes and cookies, you can satisfy your sweet tooth with whole fruits, which are high in dietary fiber and antioxidants, which have health benefits you can’t get through eating low fiber, high sugar foods.

2. Start an exercise program.

This means getting off the couch and getting out there to do some form of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is particularly good at increasing your heart rate, increasing your respiratory rate, and lowering your blood pressure.

You should aim to exercise in an aerobic exercise about 30 minutes per day on most days of the week.

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Tools For Better Heart Health

Aerobic exercises you can do include brisk walking, running, jogging, using a stair-stepper, bicycling, and swimming. Swimming is especially good for people who want to exercise but cannot tolerate the wear and tear on the joints.

You should also consider doing some kind of weight training about two days per week.

Weight training tones muscles and increases your basal metabolic rate so that you can burn calories more effectively, even without exercising.

You should make exercise a family affair so you can do things as a group and reduce all of your family’s risks of heart disease.

3. Schedule a blood sugar screening.

You can reduce your risk of heart disease by having your blood sugar checked for the presence of diabetes or pre-diabetes.

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Monitoring Blood Glucose

Both conditions can be detected by doing a fasting blood test. Values of blood glucose that are between 100 and 125 on a fasting basis mean you have pre-diabetes and should follow your blood sugars more closely so you don’t develop diabetes mellitus.

Fasting blood sugars of 125 or more mean you have diabetes and must do things like lower your blood glucose levels such as eat a low sugar diet, exercise, and take medications to reduce your blood sugar. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease but it is a risk factor you can reverse if you follow your doctor’s instructions.

4. Schedule a sleep study.

If you are told that you snore, you may be suffering from sleep apnea, which is a known risk factor for heart disease. When you have sleep apnea, you stop breathing during your sleep and wake up suddenly, gasping for air even though you don’t remember it in the morning.

Sleep apnea will raise your blood pressure during the day, not to mention that it makes you tired during the daytime.

If you are effectively diagnosed with sleep apnea and undergo treatment (which can mean using continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP, or make steps to reduce your weight), you can lessen your risk for heart disease and can have a better quality of life.

5. Reduce your stress level.

Stress will raise your blood pressure and your heart rate, both things that cause you to have an increased risk of stress on your heart.

You can reduce stress by avoiding those things that cause you to be stressed and can learn the art of several stress-reducing practices, including meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qi dong.

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Stress Management for Better Health Health

Some of these practices have more benefit to your body besides reducing stress, such as increasing flexibility, strength, and balance.

 

 

6. Schedule a cholesterol check.

Cholesterol in your bloodstream can cause a buildup of cholesterol-containing plaques that increase the risk of blood clots that can cause various types of heart disease.

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Managing Cholesterol

Know what your cholesterol should be and how to manage it.

Your cholesterol test (Lipid profile) should reveal your total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Your goal for total cholesterol should be less than 200.

 

 

You can lower your cholesterol by eating foods low in cholesterol and saturated fats, or by taking medication that will lower your cholesterol level.

Your total cholesterol is made up of the HDL (high density lipoprotein) and the higher the better. An HDL less than 35 is a risk factor for developing heart disease (coronary atherosclerosis). Aerobic acitivity, proper dieting, and medication will increase your HDL.

Your LDL (Low density lipoprotein) is responsible for the development of hardening of the arteries. Over time the recommended levels have changed. If you have no risk factors for heart disease your goal should be to get your LDL less than 130. If you have 2 risk factors the goal should be less than 100. If you have diagnosed coronary artery disease your goal should be to get the LDL cholesterol less than 70. Obtaining this level usually will require medication such as the statin drugs.

Triglycerides also are part of the lipid profile and your goal should be less than 150. Some people genetically have elevated triglycerides even if they do not suffer from obesity and diabetes. Exercise, weight loss, and dietary changes will help improve your triglyceride level. Watch your intake of fatty foods, red meats and dairy products.

Now you have 6 tips for better heart health to take action on that will lower your risk of developing heart disease and the long term complications.

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How To Manage Stress

How To Manage Stress By Keeping Your Stress Levels In Check

Why do we need to manage our stress levels?

The following  are some of the complications that can occur when you fail to properly manage your stress levels:

a weak immune system (trouble fighting infection)
heart problems (myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease)
acid reflux, heartburn (dyspepsia)
high blood pressure (hypertension)
migraines, headaches and backaches (tension headaches

… chronic fatigue (lack of energy,feeling tired)
diabetes (hyperglycemia, elevated glucose)

The key is in keeping your cortisol levels in check.

Cortisol, also known as the “stress hormone“, can have damaging effects on many of your bodily functions.

We are living in a fast paced society with constant deadlines, crazy schedules, a fast-paced society and not enough hours each day to accomplish every single task.

All of your daily issues can lead to health complications if you do not keep your stress or cortisol levels in check.

How to Keep Your Cortisol Level in Check

The following are 2 ways cortisol levels may rise in your body.

When your mind triggers a “fight or flight” response to something that is going on in your life, cortisol is produced. When your cortisol levels are high, your cardiovascular and respiratory health begins to decline immediately. As you can see from the list above, multiple bodily functions can be affected in a negative manner.

Cortisol is also naturally present in higher levels in certain foods.

So whether your stress comes from an outside source, or you get too much cortisol in the foods you eat, you can suffer the consequences of being anxious and stressed-out.

Decrease your intake of foods known to contain high levels cortisol or cause your body to produce increased cortisol levels.

Here’s how to keep your cortisol levels where they need to be:

Cut back on chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes.

Limit your caffeine intake. This means fewer coffees, soft drinks and energy drinks, especially those which are loaded with sugar.

Cut back on the number of starchy carbohydrates in your diet. This means eating fewer foods like potatoes, french fries, bread, potato chips and pizza.

Exercise regularly, get plenty of rest and keep hydrated. Remember that during exercise, cortisol does spike naturally, so when you are through working out, enjoy some “recovery based” physical activities such as yoga, pilates, or simply take a relaxing walk.

You can also practice mindfulness meditation and visualization to control your stress levels.

Tell yourself that when you see a stressful situation arising, you will respond to it in a calm manner.

Visualize yourself relaxed and peaceful, recognizing the stressful event, but not giving into it.

For the best chance of keeping stress in check, combine several of the successful stress-relief tips listed above for a calm, low-anxiety response to life’s stresses and strains.

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Stress Management Using Alternative Medicine

Stress Management Using Alternative Medicine

In today’s day and age, society is typically centered on “busy.” There is this unspoken concept that the busier you are, the more successful you will be or are. However, the busier you are the more stressed out you are bound to be as well.

Stress wreaks havoc on the human body and it can be very hard to control if you don’t know the triggers of your stress.

To give you a general idea, here are the top five most common stressors that are likely causing you to freak out.

• Work
• Family
• Divorce
• Major trauma, i.e. death of a loved one, dealing with grief and loss
• Major illness
• Moving
• Finances
• Car accident

Once you have identified the parts of your life that are stressing you out, you can move on to learning how to fix them.

Now, of course there is the option of common medications (anxiety medicine), but some of us just aren’t interested in that style of chemical treatment. If you are one of those people, then take a few minutes to read about alternative and natural methods for treating your everyday stress.

Herbal Remedies for Stress Management

The use of herbal treatment has seen a huge rise in popularity in the last few years, even though, it has been used for thousands of years of Eastern culture.

Herbal remedies are an alternative treatment under the umbrella of Holistic medicine that focuses on the individual’s entire makeup, instead of just treating specific symptoms, such as, stress. The level of stress you are experiencing will decide what type of holistic medication or treatment you should avail.

Take a look at a few examples below and see if any fit your needs!

• For the everyday jitters or nerves, drink chamomile tea or take a chamomile supplement pill. There are a few compounds in chamomile that have the ability to attach themselves to brain receptors that control stress, just like modern drugs, such as, Valium.

• For minor anxiety or stress, consider the herb Lemon Balm. This herb is sold in the form of a tea, as well as, a capsule. A quick cup of Lemon Balm tea in the morning before work/school or even before bed has shown significant results in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress.

• For daily anxieties or scenarios where you know you will be anxious, use lavender. Several studies have shown that people who smelled lavender or drank lavender tea prior to a stressful situation display a lower amount of anxiety. Having lavender scented candles in your home is a great way to decrease your level of stress on a daily basis.

Physical Activities For Stress Management

Although this is not exactly “medicine”, physical activity is a prime treatment for stress.
Combine physical activity with some herbal remedies and you should notice a significant decrease in your stress and anxiety levels.

Exercise is the most commonly stated cure for stress, which is why people tend to overlook it. However, exercising is backed by years of scientific research that has proven exercising can reduce stress levels.

This is something you should consider if the bulk of your stress is coming from fear of physical illness. Stay active, run a few times/week or take up Pilates or Yoga.

Take Omega-3 Vitamin Supplement

Omega – 3 is known to reduce the chemicals in the brain that give off stress signals. Taking these supplements once or twice a day will help regulate your stress levels.

Take A Hot Bath

Believe it or not, heat is actually a great way to lower your stress levels. Sitting in a hot tub, steam room, or hot bubble bath loosens up the muscles and settles down the brain. If you have time, try to take a warm bath or go to a steam room a few times per week.

Aromatherapy can play a role here as well by adding essential oils to the water and inhaling their healing aroma you can reduce stress. Jasmine, Lavender, Frankincense
Rose, Chamomile and Vanilla are known for their relaxation properties.

Add to the warmth by drinking a hot cup of chamomile tea!

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the most used alternative medicine therapies for stress. Acupoints in the body are stimulated by special needles that help relieve tension in the body and relieve stress.

Hypnosis

Another critical tool in fighting stress is hypnosis and especially self-hypnosis relaxation audio CDs or MP3s that are readily available in many varieties. These can provide real results and are versatile enough to be used anytime throughout the day to regroup and detach from the stresses around you.

Combine the above alternative treatments for stress management and see just how much your life can improve!

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