Blissful Belle

Be Happy, Feel Beautiful

A Happy Heart for a Healthier You

Your heart is the center of your body and without it nothing in your body would function correctly. Having a healthy heart is key for a healthy life. You may think that you don’t have to worry about heart problems until you’re older, but studies show that heart disease is on the rise among younger women, and is even surpassing the number of women who have died of cardiovascular health problems in the last 25 years.

There are a lot of opinions floating around about what diets and exercies regimens are best for avoiding health problems. While ideas may come and go, these six important factors will always help to keep the heart in prime condition.

 1. Easy on the salt: You may not think that you consume too much salt, but if you keep track of your salt intake for a day you will be surprised by how much salt you consume on a daily basis. Processed foods are especially rich in salt. Eating too much salt has been linked to high blood pressure.

Try this: The recommended level of salt is six grams a day. When cooking, add “pinches” of salt instead of spoonfuls and try not to sprinkle any extra on at the table.

2. Get on your feet: To say that exercise is the most effective route to a healthy life would be an understatement. It is good for your joints, mood, weight control and especially your heart. Regular exercise improves heart function and lowers blood pressure and blood cholesterol. 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day is recommended.

Try this: If you’re not big on exercise, start with brisk walks in the evening. Bring a friend with you or create a motivating playlist on your iPod.

3. Limit your intake of bad cholesterol: A certain amount of fat is essential for maintaing a balanced diet. These essential fats are monosaturated and come from foods like nuts, avocado and fish. Saturated fat affects blood cholesterol levels, so try to eat less full fat dairy products. Yes, Belles, this means cakes, cookies, pastries and burgers.

Try this: Replace saturated fats with monosaturated fats such as olive and rapeseed oil, nuts and avocado pears. Polyunsaturated fats in small amount help reduce cholesterol so oily fish and oils like sunflower, corn and soya oil are beneficial.

4. Monitor your overall health status: Whether you’re at risk for heart disease or not, you should still keep track of your health. You may not feel it, but there could be something off. The best way to prevent any scare is to monitor your health status.

Try this: Keep tabs on your body mass index. Get a blood pressure machine and keep an eye on your blood pressure. Get yourself screened at the appropriate times.

5. Maintain a healthy diet: To control weight and blood pressure, add variety to your diet by including fruits and vegetables. They are low in calories, but high in vitamins, minerals and fiber. Also, eat unrefined whole-grain foods because they improve your cholesterol levels.

Try this: Cook more meals at home. If you cook them yourself, you will know exactly what goes in to them. It easier to control bad cholesterol when you cook for yourself.

6. Don’t smoke: Plain and simple.Smokers are at higher risk for developing health problems such as atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty material in the arteries. Gross! This can result in a heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Smoking itself is considered to be the most important preventable causes of premature death in this country.

Try this: If you live with a a smoker or have friends who smoke it may put you at risk, too. Try to convince them to stop by informing them of the dangers.

More than 1 in 3 Americans have at least one type of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke. A large part of this demographic believes that their heart health is “ideal.” Don’t be another statistic. A few healthy changes in your everyday routine will lead you to a long and Blissful life.


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