Take Care of Your Heart: 7 Things Your Heart Will Appreciate
Valentine’s Day is here, it’s evident by teddy bears, couple mugs, flying cupids, and flower bouquets that are everywhere these days. Usually, all of these cute things have something in common they all have at heart on them. Hearts became a symbol of love in the 13th century, and we are convinced that honest romantic relationships are crucial for our wellbeing and the wellbeing of our hearts. Taking care of the actual heart that keeps beating in your chest should be your priority whether it’s the 14th of February or the 29th of September which FYI is World Heart Day. Your heart doesn’t care if you are single or in a relationship, give him the love it deserves! Read about how to properly take care of it.
Heart problems have been the leading cause of death in Slovakia and Europe for a long time. In 2020, 27 190 people have died in Slovakia due to circulatory system diseases. That is almost double the number of deaths caused by tumors. Some factors like genetic predisposition can increase the chances of developing cardiovascular disease, but the best way to avoid them is to make the right choices when it comes to your overall health. Especially considering the fact that most cardiovascular diseases are preventable. Take good care of your heart whether you’re 20 or 40. It’s never too late. Do these 7 things and perhaps you’ll avoid a premature visit with a cardiologist!
1. Brush your teeth (not just before a date!)
Let’s kick things off with a piece of unexpected advice. According to research conducted by the Cleveland Clinic, the bacteria that cause gum disease can get into your bloodstream. This can increase the risk of heart disease. Even if the study result isn’t concrete, good oral hygiene never hurts.
2. Sleep tight!
Every adult may have a different sleeping pattern, the doctors generally recommend 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. One study on 3000 adults above the age of 45 found that those who got less than 6 hours of sleep a night, were twice as likely to have a stroke or a heart attack than those who slept between 6 to 8 hours.
3. Take a chill pill
Do you get this often? The more sleep you get the better, with stress the exact opposite seems to be true. Chronic stress makes your heart beat faster too often and for too long. Blood pressure gets dangerously high which increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Find a healthy way to combat stress with movement, drawing, or breathing exercises. Cuddling with your partner is very effective in dealing with stress too. This year instead of a Valentine’s Day card, try giving a nice tight hug.
4. Nourish your heart
We are what we eat. We don’t have to remind you that unhealthy food can have negative effect on your body. Let’s get straight to the good stuff. These have to be a part of your diet tokeep your heart and blood vessels healthy:
- Soluble fiber: legumes, oats, barley, pears, apples, avocado
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: salmon, tuna, sardines, flax seeds
- Flavonoids: dark chocolate, red vine (in small amounts)
- Must-haves: fruits, vegetables, and lean meat
What to avoid in your diet?
- Trans-fatty acids: low-quality margarine and plant butter
- Exess amount of saturated fats: fat pork, bacon, pork fat bravčové mäso, lard
- Smoked and salty products
- Regular alcohol consumption
- Active and passive smoking
- Perfect Valentine’s Day dinner: Chicken ramen for lovers of Japanese cuisine
5. Don’t sit so much and get moving!
Most of us have a sedentary jobs. We cannot do much about that. We can control, however, if we sit without a break for 8 hours straight or we go and get a glass of water to move a little every 20 to 30 minutes. Scientists agree that long-term sitting is a risk factor when it comes to our health. One study on 800 000 people found that those who were sitting the longest had an increased chance of getting cardiovascular incidents by 147 % compared to those who were sitting the least.
6. What’s your number?
Yes, your phone number is crucial while dating. However, we are talking about different numbers concerning your health.
Track the following:
- blood pressure
- blood sugar
- waist circumference
If your values seem off, consult your doctor about the next steps to improve them. You can track your weight and waist circumference at home. Remember that excess weight and obesity are linked to high blood pressure and the risk of premature death due to cardiovascular diseases. Your weight can be misleading, the measurement of your waistline will be more accurate. If your waist circumference is above 94 cm for men and 80 cm for women, you are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
7. Make out
Kissing your partner doesn’t just give that warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach. It triggers many physiological processes for which your heart will be very thankful. Kissing releases happy hormones like oxytocin, dopamine, or serotonin. These chemicals lower your cortisol - the stress hormone. That is why afterward you are relaxed and in a good mood. Kissing is also good for your heart because it dilates your blood vessels and increases your blood flow which in return lowers your blood pressure.