5 easy ways to boost your heart health
Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Making positive changes to help your cardiovascular system doesn't necessarily always mean grueling exercise and eating even more kale.
Sometimes, the simplest moves are just the ticket for seeing meaningful improvements in your numbers. Try the following tricks:
Get real with your Fitbit.
USC researchers report that when asked how much exercise they get on a daily basis, people rarely answer accurately. Americans typically rate themselves as very active, for example, when as high as 60 percent of that subject group were proven to be inactive through fitness tracking devices.
The moral of this story: your Fitbit doesn't lie. Pay attention to your actual mileage logged if you monitor steps throughout your workday, and move more if you need to.
Skip the drive-thru on your way home from work.
A study from the Medical College of Georgia at Augustafound that drinking just one milkshake made with whole milk, ice cream and whipped cream was enough to turn healthy red blood cells into spiky cells, which are a key risk for a cardiovascular event like a heart attack.
What's more, the risk to your heart after consuming a high-fat drink or food lasts for a full four hours, causing an immune response in your body that's similar to an infection. The researchers think this could explain rare reports of sudden death after people with heart disease eat a single high-fat meal.
The take-home: an occasional rich treat is probably OK, but don't make a habit of taxing your heart by eating this way all the time.
Don't break your daily diet into small portions.
It's previously been thought that eating six small meals plus two snacks was a great way to lose weight, but researchers at Tel Aviv University now recommend eating on the following schedule: a big breakfast, an average lunch, a small dinner, and no snacking at all.
Their research concluded that this new eating schedule controlled hunger better than more frequent eating, and provided better glucose control and balance — participants during the duration of their study dropped 11 pounds as opposed to 3 pounds dropped by those eating six meals a day. Health improvements happened after only two weeks on the new schedule, too.
Listen to music after you take your blood pressure meds.
Research finds that classical music in particular lowers your heart rate, reduces arterial pressure and positively activates your body's parasympathetic system — all of which helps your body absorb the medication better. Using Beethoven as your office soundtrack might just create the calming environment you need overall to do your best work, too — give it a try!
Research from the American College of Cardiology found that positive thinkers have a great chance of improving their heart health, because optimism allows you to better and more enthusiastically plan a healthy diet, make time for exercise, and reject stress. Practice seeing the glass half full — it will not only help your heart, but open up new possibilities in your work life as well!
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