Has anyone ever told you to “have some heart”? Our heart is such a vital organ, so it is only natural that we take extra care of it. Eating healthily and decreasing our BMI are great ways to take care of our heart, but did you know that there are other bad habits in your life that may be causing some major damage?
- Forgetting to Floss: Your dentist nags you about flossing at every visit, and they have a good point. Poor dental health and gingivitis can increase your chances of heart disease. How is this possible? Bacteria left to linger in your mouth can actually get into the blood stream. Thankfully the solution to this problem is easy; just brush and floss more often.
- Misusing Your Sleep Time: Majority of the population misuses their sleeping hours. In fact, the average amount of sleep that an individual gets is around five hours. You are not doing yourself or your heart any favors. Dr. Foody, Foody, M.D., medical director of the cardiovascular wellness program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, says, “Sleep promotes lower blood pressure and reduces the likelihood of irregular heartbeats, and people who have good sleep habits are less likely to have heart failure and heart attacks.” Aim to get eight hours of sleep to promote your overall health. Have issues falling into dreamland? Try cutting back the caffeine and sugar or taking a natural melatonin supplement recommended by your doctor.
- Your Diet Doesn’t Have Enough Color: Even if you are a healthy weight or are eating a healthy diet, there could be a good chance that you are not getting in all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Think about everything you ate in the last 24 hours – how many colors did you eat? Try to increase your intake of a variety of healthy fruits and vegetables.
- You are Stuck Inside: Now that it is cold outside, it is much harder to get out and about. However, staying inside is not benefiting your heart. You need a daily dose of Vitamin D to keep unhealthy plaque from building up in your heart. A Vitamin D supplement can help, but it is best to get it the old fashion way – through sunlight. Spend 5-30 minutes outdoors every day.
- You Multitask: We know you are busy, but multitasking can put unneeded stress on your heart. Whether you multitask at the office, at home, or with the kids, find a way to stress less. This may mean that your children have to give up one of their several extracurricular activities or that you need to tell your boss that you cannot work late every single day of the week or that you need an assistant. You don’t have to do it all, so don’t try. Chronic stress is not only bad for your heart, but it also wreaks havoc on your weight, your brain, your mood, and your sleep.
You only get one heart, so treat it wisely. For all health advice, check with your primary physician to ensure you are doing what is best for your health.
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