10 Tips for Everyday Heart Health

The key to long-lasting heart health is prevention. Taking care of your heart is not something that can be found in pill form—it is a matter of everyday choices. Here are 10 easy ways to boost your heart health in your everyday routine:
1. Count calories. Do you know how many calories you eat each day? Do you know how many calories you should eat each day? Keep track of your calorie intake for just one normal day in a notebook to analyze and see where you can make adjustments. You can use a calorie calculator that tells you how many calories you should consume per day based on your height, weight, age, gender, and activity level.
2. Do hand-eye coordination exercises. Activities like knitting or sewing can actually reduce your chances of developing heart disease, particularly since they are meant to be relaxing. Jigsaw puzzles can also have the same effect.
3. Laugh a lot. All joking aside, laughter actually has a positive scientific effect on your heart. Damage to the tissue lining your blood vessels can actually be alleviated by laughter—so find out what makes you laugh and then include it in your daily routine.
4. Toast your health. Alcohol, in moderation, has been shown to prevent damage to arteries, raise good cholesterol numbers, and decrease the chance of blood clots. Some research shows that red wine is the best choice but other alcoholic beverages also have positive effects—in measured moderation—i.e., about 1 drink per day, max.
5. Dance more. Whether you take an organized movement class, or just crank the tunes while you clean the house, dancing raises your heart rate and helps you burn some calories too. Music and dancing can also boost your mood and make your entire day better.
6. Add fiber. High-fiber foods include whole grains, beans and legumes, and fruits and veggies. These foods are high in soluble fiber which lowers your cholesterol and keeps your heart in tip-top shape.
7. Eat more nuts. Just a handful of nuts a day can reduce your risk of heart disease. Go for raw almonds and walnuts to make the most of this health boost.
8. Get up and move. Even if you are at a healthy weight, sitting still for too long is bad for your heart. Some studies have even shown that sitting still for too long can shorten your lifespan. If you have a desk job, build in walking breaks. Make it a habit to go on a family walk or bike ride every day and make up for the time you are sitting.
9. Up your fish intake. The American Heart Association says that people should have at least two servings of fish every week for optimal health benefits. The omega-3 fatty acids can reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of blood clots.
10. Get a pet. The unconditional love shown by our pets is actually good for our tickers. Spending time with pets relaxes you and leads to higher levels of endorphins—leading ultimately to higher levels of heart health.
The good news about things like high cholesterol and blood pressure is that they are reversible. Even if you have not had the healthiest heart habits in the past, it is never too late to make new habits and improve your health.
If you aren’t sure where to start, make an appointment with your doctor. After all, he or she doesn’t just have access to GE Mac 1200 EKG equipment—they want to help guide you to a healthier lifestyle with good old face-to-face conversation, too.
How do you keep your heart healthy?