February is a month that can leave a number of people feeling down with Valentine’s day commercialism. But all of us have something that supports us constantly – our own hearts! Our heart is continually working to pump blood and provide oxygen to every organ, muscle, ligament, and cell in our body. Unfortunately, we don’t always think about our hearts or their health. And when we stop caring for it, serious issues can arise which can later lead to serious disease and even death. This is why we encourage you to love yourself by loving your heart this Valentine’s day with this heart healthy tips!
Heart Healthy Tips: A Background on the Bad
Cholesterol is a term we’ve all heard before. And it can sometimes be confusing, as our bodies need cholesterol to function. This waxy substance allows the body to make vitamin D, estrogen, testosterone, and even aids in the digestion process. This kind of cholesterol is referred to as HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good cholesterol”).
The other kind of cholesterol is referred to as LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad cholesterol”). This is the kind that medical professionals warn the public about due to the fact it can cause plaque. When we have too much “bad” cholesterol, heart disease and other issues can occur.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, is a term that means the force of blood against the artery walls is high. When blood pressure rises it can cause all kind of damage and issues including:
- Artery damage
- Heart damage
- Kidney damage
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Vision loss
- Memory loss
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fluid in the lungs
- Chest pain
- Circulatory problems
Heart Healthy Tips: What Can You Do?
The scariest thing about both high levels of LDL and high blood pressure is that these are considered silent killers. Meaning that there aren’t many symptoms of these conditions until it is almost too late. This is why it is crucial to be thinking about our heart health each and every day. Here are our top tips for a healthy heart.
It Always Starts in the Kitchen
We’re sure you’ve heard this before, but in regard to many facets of health, it all starts in the kitchen. Your diet directly influences the state of your heart health. We encourage you to consider the following:
- Load up on fruits and veggies
- Choose whole grains over “white” and refined counterparts
- Limit saturated/trans fats and salt
- Opt for fatty fish like salmon, herring, and trout
- Increase bean consumption and other fibrous foods
- Avoid red meat and choose leaner cuts of meat
- Lower dairy consumption and turn towards dairy-free alternatives like oat and nut-based products
- Limit alcohol consumption
Get Active by Moving More
We aren’t telling you to join a CrossFit gym or go run a marathon. Rather we simply ask you start moving a little more each day through things like:
- Lifting light weights
If you already have heart disease or other issues, make sure to discuss an exercise program with your preferred medical professional before beginning. Remember, the best way to create a lasting habit is to go slowly and take your time!
Other Heart Healthy Tips
Apart from diet and exercise, there are a few other things you can do to take care of your heart:
- Practice stress management – as stress can raise blood pressure and increase full-body tension
- Avoid tobacco smoke – including second hand when possible
- Take your prescriptions, but be inquisitive about them – your doctor prescribes you medication for a reason, so make sure to follow their direction as they are meant to help you get better. However, over the counter medication has been shown to increase blood pressure or contain high amounts of sodium. This is why it’s crucial to have an open dialogue with your preferred medical professional.
- Go to your checkups – heart disease is called the silent killer for a reason, you need regular checkups to make sure your heart is working optimally
Get Your Heart Healthy with Zock Chiropractic
If you have heart concerns, Dr. Zock and the staff at Zock Family Chiropractic would love to help. She can listen to your concerns, provide you with chiropractic insight, and help guide you to a trusted medical professional should you need one. Keep your heart healthy this month and every month. Make an appointment in Cranberry to schedule an introductory session and provide you with a happy and healthy 2020!
* This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please contact a medical professional for advice.