How To Improve Your Heart Health

25/09/2023, Lanserhof

80% of heart attacks, and almost as many strokes, can be prevented through consistent preventive measures. Nevertheless, around 17.3 million people worldwide die every year as a result of cardiovascular disease. These diseases are by far the most statistically common causes of death. But there are many things that everyone can do for their heart health in everyday life. Our friends at Lanserhof have put together a few of them for you below.

Move, Move, Move

It sounds too simple, but it really is, and you don’t even have to become an athlete. Regular exercise (e.g. cycling to work) dramatically reduces cardiovascular risk. Sitting is the new smoking! Would you have thought that a lack of exercise is equivalent to consuming 20 cigarettes a day?

Just 10,000 steps a day and 150 minutes of moderate endurance training a week are enough to achieve the full preventive effect. In addition, a so-called “Weekend Worrier”, i.e. someone who does all their exercise at the weekend (e.g. on a hike through beautiful mountains), benefits from the same preventive effect as someone who goes to the gym three times a week. At the same time, outdoor exercise can significantly reduce stress hormones. If you can’t implement any of the other recommendations, simply doing sports will already give you 60% of the preventive effect.

How To Improve Your Heart Health

Don't Smoke

This recommendation is as banal as it is effective, and really needs no further explanation. It has been proven that not smoking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. But did you know that the dramatic decrease seen in acute heart attacks after the introduction of the “smoking ban” in public areas was largely caused by fewer illnesses among non-smokers?

Eat The Rainbow

For a healthy heart, it is important to eat a balanced and varied diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein (such as chicken, fish, beans and nuts) and healthy fats (such as are found in avocado and nuts). It’s also a good idea to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, as well as limiting sugar and salt.

A few dietary changes can have a positive impact on your heart health:

  • Fresh, colourful vegetables and fruits should be eaten every day.
  • Try to eat as little meat as possible, and to ensure that it is high-quality meat. Organic meat contains more vitamins and fewer harmful substances.
  • Use salt with caution. Spice things up with herbs, chilli and pepper. Watch out: Many ready-made products contain large amounts of salt, even if the food does not taste that salty. It is better to cook your own food as often as possible and not add salt.
  • Not only is too much salt bad for your heart, but so is sugar! The fructose in fruit is less harmful because many different healthy secondary plant substances and dietary fibres have a balancing effect. Pure sugar, e.g. in soft drinks and fruit juices, promotes the development of obesity and type 2 diabetes, both diseases that greatly increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Saturated fatty acids from animal sources (milk, meat, eggs) should be consumed in moderation. Unsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids from nuts, seeds and high-fructose foods should be consumed in moderation.

How To Improve Your Heart Health

Pay Attention To Your Breathing

Breathing can work like a medicine – and even serious diseases can be influenced by it. Cardiologists have shown that the oxygen saturation of the blood, and thus the well-being of people suffering from heart problems, can be significantly improved by simple breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can be performed while sitting, preferably in a quiet place. A clock or alarm clock with a second hand can be used as an aid. Sit comfortably, slump your shoulders and try to breathe towards your stomach. Close your eyes and observe for at least five breaths how your breath comes in and goes out. Then estimate how many seconds you breathe in and try to breathe out for about twice as long. Find a rhythm where you both feel comfortable and get enough air. If your mind wanders, return to your breathing. It takes a few weeks to see a measurable improvement in blood pressure or heart rate. To achieve this, breathing exercises should be performed for 20 to 30 minutes a day, either at a stretch or for five to ten minutes three times a day. However, a relaxed feeling is usually noticeable immediately after the first session. 

Take A Middday Nap

According to a study by the University of Athens Medical School, a regular midday nap can reduce the risk of succumbing to cardiovascular disease by up to 3 percent. This is because the heart rate slows down during sleep and the body relaxes. A 30-minute nap may enormously increase life expectancy and strengthen your heart.

How To Improve Your Heart Health

Abstain From Alcohol 

Alcohol is a cell poison and therefore not only increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases but also promotes the development of various tumours. There have been studies that saw a reduction in the risk of heart attack from moderate alcohol consumption. However, these have been disproved(unfortunately!). Today, it must be assumed that even small amounts of alcohol have a damaging effect.

Check Blood Pressure

Blood pressure should be monitored regularly and kept within a healthy range if possible. This is because high blood pressure is a significant risk factor for heart disease. Purchasing a blood pressure device is worthwhile, especially when the first signs of high blood pressure appear. Blood pressure is an important indicator for detecting possible cardiovascular diseases. Particularly with increasing age, or if there are any abnormalities, it is important to check blood pressure regularly.

You should also check your cholesterol level regularly. High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

How To Improve Your Heart Health

Regular Health Checks

High blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes all contribute to the build-up of deposits in the arteries. At best, these should be prevented, or – if you already suffer from them – they should be treated. Regular check-ups from the age of 30 are one of the most important preventive measures against heart disease. If the risk factors are recognised and treated in good time, with therapy through medication and/or lifestyle changes, vascular damage can be avoided, and the risk of heart disease drastically reduced.

Screening examinations should be carried out using the most modern diagnostic procedures in order to detect diseases that have not yet become clinically apparent at the earliest possible stage, allowing them to be treated where necessary.

If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.

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