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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Valentine's Alert: 11 Things You Can Do To Keep Your Heart Healthy

February is considered as the "love" month. It is when we celebrate the Valentine's Day. Couples go on dates, give each other gifts, and spend their alone time together. And what is the most common symbol we see during this season? Yes, you got it. The heart!

The use of the heart shape as a symbol for love can be traced at as early as the 1200's. The heart shape though is far different from the real shape of our hearts. It is said that the image of the heart that most of us now today came from the figure of the silphium seed engraved on coins used in Greece in the early ages.

The heart organ from then on has been associated with the feeling of romantic affection and commonly noted as the "center" of our emotion. It is also perceived in almost all of the cultures around the world that the heart organ is a perfect allusion to love since this organ performs the most important function in our body. Without it, the other body organs will begin to malfunction and our very body will start to disintegrate. And so as for love. As the saying goes, "love will keep us alive".

So how are we supposed to take care of our hearts? Here are some practical, natural, and easy things we can do to save our hearts from being "broken":

1. Get seven hours of sleep.

Sleeping is our body's way of taking a break from the daily demands of life and by doing so, we recharge ourselves and gain enough energy to work again. Speaking of doing work, our heart is probably the busiest organ in our body. It SHOULD work 24/7 or else, we might fall into an eternal slumber instead.

Having a complete and not interrupted seven hours of sleep is essential for our heart. One study conducted showed that people who can have enough sleep have a lower tendency to have calcium build-up in their arteries.

Furthermore, the inability to fall asleep could be seen as a sign of another health condition. You better consult a doctor if you are experiencing this.

2. Avoid TRANS-Fat

Our body also needs certain kinds of fat. But trans fat is not included. Processed foods contain high levels of trans fat. Other foods which may also contain trans fat include fried foods, creamer and margarine, dairy products, baked goods and some snacks. Trans fat causes the clogging of our arteries which will raise the bad cholesterol level and lowers the good cholesterol level. This is viewed as the number one factor that increases the risk of heart disease. Avoiding these foods will improve the blood flow in our body.

3. Check your blood pressure regularly

If a person has a high blood pressure, more force will be required for the blood and oxygen to be pumped to and from the heart. Because of this, the artery walls may be damaged or scarred. More force exerted will also wear out our hearts.

For a person with high blood pressure, it is perfectly recommended to cut their salt intake, avoid alcoholic beverages, practice healthy eating habits, veer away from stress, and exercise.

4. Lessen sitting time

Staying seated for a long period of time and doing nothing is extremely bad to our health. According to some study conducted, sitting for a long time contributes to various cardiovascular issues and those people may also suffer from blood clots. For people with sedentary work, it is advisable to also spend some time moving and stretching.

5. Check your blood sugar level.

Diabetes, together with various heart diseases, is one of the common reasons of death not only in the USA but all around the globe. Technically, these two are linked to each other. High blood sugar level damages our arteries and may lead to even more serious heart diseases. Overweight or obese people, pregnant women, and those 45 years old and older, are more likely to have high blood sugar. If you are one of these people, you better consult your doctor about your blood sugar as early as now.

6. Live a more active life.

Go out! Exercise. Professionals may find it difficult to make time for this activity since their work already consumes their precious time. But a 30-minute exercise would not hurt that much, I guess. There are simple and easy activities you can do whether at home or at your workplace. You may start brisk walking, cycling, jogging around your place, doing a routine with your chair at work, or watching a short exercise video from Youtube and perform it. Zumba dance is one good example for this. Yoga is also advisable because it does not only improve your flexibility but the breathing exercise promotes efficient blood flow and helps a person to have better thinking.

7. Check your weight.

Working out and doing some exercise will not surely guarantee a good health condition. Monitor your weight regularly. If you have been working out but your weight remains unchanged, then there might be something wrong. Ask your doctor so that you will know the right and appropriate wellness program for you.

8. Get "real" fiber.

People with a high-fiber diet have lower risk of heart disease. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds are rich with fiber. Some commercially available drinks and beverages which claim to be rich in fiber still lack from the fiber we can get from the real fruit itself. So, if I may suggest, consume the real ones instead.

9. Pay attention on your dental health.

Studies showed the relationship between oral hygiene and heart conditions. Research proves that people who had gum problems also had a high tendency for heart problems. This is because of the bacteria in the mouth which cause the gum problems may get into the bloodstream. This will later on result to inflammation of the blood vessels. You may fight off gum diseases of you brush your teeth daily, floss, and avoid consumings sugar-rich foods and beverages.

10. Stay away from cigarette smoke.

Cigarette smoking is the primary reason of lung cancer of millions of people worldwide. Even if you don't smoke but you spend time hanging around the people who do, you may still suffer from lung and heart problems. Yours might also be much worse and more fatal than them since secondhand-smoking is more dangerous.

Meanwhile, men and women of different ages resort to use e-cigarettes instead. These may not have the same chemicals with the real ones, but it still has nicotene, a chemical which is toxic to our body.

11. Do the things you LOVE.

Lastly, spending your time doing the things you love will ease up your breathing and promote good blood flow.
 Aside from doing yoga, meditation, exercise, having a well-balanced diet, you may also spend more time 
talking to your friends, taking care of your pets, doing your favorite hobbies, or anything that can give you a more positive outlook. Things that will make you happy, and of course, HEALTHY. Different studies proved that happier people have lower risks of heart diseases and have a higher tendency to live longer.

May you have a happy Valentine's this year! 


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