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Quick tips to better heart health

Lifestyle
2022-02-01 | By: Snap Fitness

Heart disease accounts for nearly one-third of all deaths worldwide. 

The good news is, research suggests that many of these deaths could be prevented with lifestyle changes.

Taking care of your heart health is more than just what you eat. It also includes factors like keeping your stress levels low and getting daily movement.

Here are 4 quick tips foods you can do to maximize your heart health:

1. Walk 10 minutes a day

Keeping your stress levels low and getting movement in is key for a happy heart. Exercise helps check both those boxes. The next time you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, or angry, take a stroll. Even a 10-minute walk can help clear your head and lower your stress levels. Try working up to a half-hour walk every day to really maximize your physical and mental health benefits!

2. Practice gratitude

A sunny outlook may be good for your heart, as well as your mood. According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, chronic stress, anxiety, and anger can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke by heightening blood pressure.

Try taking a moment each day to recognize 3 blessings in your life, big or small! This taps into your positive emotions and instantly lowers stress levels, thus lowering your blood pressure.

3. Practice controlled breathing to reduce blood pressure

An easy way to improve your heart health is through your breath. Breathing slowly and deeply for just a few minutes a day, can help lower blood pressure. Deep breathing, on the other hand, stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which is part of the peripheral nervous system responsible for controlling heartbeat, blood flow, breathing, and digestion. Deep breathing helps you to avoid the fight-or-flight response (also known as the acute stress response). Which is that reaction to mentally or physically terrifying situations. Try deep, slow breathing for a few minutes a day. You’ll notice your stress levels lower you’re your heart health will also benefit!

Breathing technique example: Box breathing.

  • Sitting upright, slowly exhale all the air from your lungs for 4 seconds.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose to the count of four
  • Hold your breath for another slow count of four.
  • Exhale through your mouth for the same slow count of four and repeat!
 4. Eat Chocolate

You heard right! Dark chocolate not only tastes delicious, but it also contains heart-healthy flavonoids. Scientists suggest, these compounds help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease. Note: you’ll want to still in moderation and choose dark chocolate that is low in sugar and artificial ingredients. Check out this list here some healthy options: https://bit.ly/3p545WA

The next time your sweet tooth is calling, enjoy a square or two of dark chocolate. No guilt required.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5408160/
  2. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2608221
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/happiness-stress-heart-disease/
  4. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/6/2/844/htm
  5. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-peripheral-nervous-system-2795465
  6. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/healthy-delicious-chocolate-bars-dietitians-eat/

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