4 Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Changes

When it comes to the health of your heart, almost everything you do, don’t do, eat, and more can have a profound impact on this vital organ. While scare tactics make lousy motivators, the fact is that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women, and one person dies every 37 seconds at the hands of cardiovascular disease.

What concerns us here at Modern Heart and Vascular Institute is that many of these deaths could have been prevented with a few lifestyle changes. Under the direction of board-certified cardiologist Dr. Rajiv Agarwal, our team prefers to partner with patients to prevent the unthinkable from happening.

While we can deliver broad instructions like eat a healthy diet and exercise more, we want to provide you with four heart-healthy lifestyle tips you can implement today that will serve you well for years to come.

1. Ditch the chips and cookies

Have you ever noticed the disproportionate selections of junk food versus healthier, plant-based snacks in every grocery store and convenience store?  While we’re not asking you to avoid processed junk foods altogether (yet), let’s start with just a few substitutions.

Instead of picking up that bag of chips, you can opt for carrots, celery, or snap peas instead. Each of these snacks make for easy and convenient eating and they provide that crunch you get with chips.

If you frequently indulge in cookies and cakes, try a nice fruit salad for at least one of these servings. Choosing those “no-sugar” or “low-calorie” options aren’t really doing you any favors, and we’d prefer you get some great nutrients and antioxidants into your system.

In making just a few of these substitutions, you can help ward off buildup in your blood vessels, which can lead to coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

2. Go the distance

Exercise is crucial for your heart health, but if you lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle, we’re not going to ask you to go out and run a marathon. You can get plenty of exercise during your everyday activities if you try just some of these tips:

As you can see, these are just some small steps that will add some much-needed exercise to your day.

3. Reduce stress

Even if you weren’t stressed before 2020, you might be now as we face a health and financial crisis. Stress can wreak havoc on your heart, so any steps you can take to relax and de-stress are steps well worth taking. 

For example, try to limit the amount of news you watch every day. Sure, it’s great to be informed, but today’s news is often full of conflict and violence that can lead to stress.

You can also try some deep-breathing exercises throughout the day. If you feel your stress levels rising, simply stop, breathe in for four seconds and out for four seconds. If you do this for a few minutes, you’ll feel your anxiety ebb.

4. Start to quit smoking

We know this is one tip that’s far easier said than done, but smoking is one of the biggest contributors to poor heart health. Since we promised you tips that you can implement today, we simply want to introduce the concept so that you can get used to the idea and begin to take a few steps toward quitting. 

As an example, why not eliminate one or two smokes from your day, such as the one before you go to bed or that after-dinner cigarette? By breaking these smaller habits, quitting altogether won’t seem so daunting.

Please know that our team is available to help you tailor a lifestyle plan that will help improve your heart health. To get started, contact one of our nine offices in the Humble, Texas, to set up an appointment.

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