Saturday, June 17

3 simple steps to improve heart health

It may be difficult for busy individuals to adopt heart-healthy activities. These straightforward substitutions can help.

How to improve your heart health

It can be difficult to prioritise heart health with a hectic schedule. It appears that there is no time for heart-healthy behaviours such as regular exercise, getting enough sleep and healthy nutrition. Therefore, you may take the stairs whenever possible or park further away from stores in order to increase your daily step count. But what else are your options? Here are three potential additions to your agenda:

Replace electronic communication with face-to-face meetings.

Texting, emailing, social media, and Zoom calls are acceptable as your primary means of communication. According to a scientific statement published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it's not acceptable if these methods leave you feeling lonely or isolated, two conditions linked to increased risks for heart disease, heart attack, or stroke.

Try to replace some of your technological back-and-forth with people with in-person meetings in order to battle loneliness and isolation. Perhaps you can find time in your schedule for a brief walk, a cup of coffee, or lunch with a colleague or friend.

Matthew Lee, a sociologist and research associate at Harvard University's Human Flourishing Programme, explains, "Spending time face-to-face helps connect you to others and may make you feel less alone." "Being physically present can help you feel more engaged with others, more valued, and more likely to experience a sense of shared identity — all of which can help alleviate feelings of loneliness." This is why some physicians are beginning to engage in "social prescribing,' which includes recommending that patients participate in volunteer work and other activities that foster interpersonal social relationships."

Lee and a team of Harvard researchers recently published a study in the International Journal of Public Health indicating that social connectedness may reduce the likelihood of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Both are linked to heart disease and aggravate existing cardiac conditions.


Replace an unhealthy breakfast with a nutritious one.
Do you typically consume refined (not whole) grains, processed meat, saturated fat, and added sugar for breakfast? Regular consumption of this type of food may lead to an increase in calories, weight, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, which is bad for the heart.

Choose breakfast foods that are high in fibre, a form of carbohydrate that either passes through the body undigested (insoluble fibre) or dissolves into a gel that coats the gut (soluble fibre).

Not only does fibre aid digestion, but it also helps the immune system.

Controls blood sugar and reduces the risk of diabetes, which is strongly associated with heart attacks and strokes. May help fight chronic inflammation, which plays a role in artery clogging and causing heart attacks.
Fibre-rich foods include fruits, nuts, seeds, whole cereals (oats, barley, and quinoa), and many others. Try these breakfast ideas rich in fibre:

Cereal prepared in the microwave (heat a half-cup of muesli with nearly a cup of low-fat milk for approximately two minutes) If you have prepared quinoa in the refrigerator, serve it cold with a dollop of nonfat Greek yoghurt, berries, and granola.
Whole-grain cereal with milk (choose cereals with the most whole grains and the fewest added sugars).
Toast made with whole grains and two tablespoons of nut butter (such as almond or peanut butter)
Use your favourite unsalted almonds, sunflower seeds, and dried fruit such as raisins or apricots to make one or two handfuls of trail mix.

Replace a few minutes of scrolling with meditation.
If you occasionally take a pause from your busy schedule to read the news on your phone or computer, you can likely also find time to meditate, which is essential for heart health. According to research, those who meditate have lower rates of high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and coronary artery disease than those who do not.

What is the relationship? Meditation induces the body's relaxation response, a well-studied physiological change that appears to reduce blood pressure, pulse rate, respiration rate, oxygen consumption, adrenaline levels, and cortisol levels.

The good news is that it doesn't take long to obtain the heart-healthy benefits of meditation — only 10 to 20 minutes daily.

Ways to meditate quickly during a busy day include sitting quietly, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply.

Focusing on your breathing without judging sounds you hear or thoughts that come into your mind listening to a guided meditation, which uses mental images to help you relax listening to a recording of calming sounds such as waves, a bubbling brook, or gentle rain
Simply attempt to relax your mind for a few minutes per day. Regardless of how busy you are, you may soon discover that you are better at meditating and practising other heart-healthy habits.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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