health of the heart
Keeping your heart healthy means making smart choices now to pay off in the future, such as maintaining a balanced diet and staying physically active.

A stagnant lifestyle is a precursor to many heart problems, and the best way to avoid this is by staying active and eating healthy. This holds for people of any age group or gender. 

Although there are risk factors beyond your control, such as age, sex or family history, maintaining a healthy heart means making smart choices now to pay off for the future.

Diet:

  • A balanced diet has all the essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, good fats, vitamins and proteins, which are vital substances required for each cell in our body to carry out its functionality.

Healthy lifestyle:

  • Physical activity is essential for our hearts to stay in good shape.
  • Hence, one needs to take care of their diet and maintain their weight.
  • Exercise, yoga or some form of physical activity aids in burning bad fat.

Heart health supplements:

Apart from adopting a healthy diet and active lifestyle, supplements can help in supporting heart health. Listed below are a few supplements to consider:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids: When it comes to maintaining cardiovascular health, the importance of omega-3 fatty acids cannot be missed.
    • They are of three main types:
      • Alpha-linolenic acid (found in canola, soy, perilla, hemp and walnut oils)

      • Eicosapentaenoic acid (found in fatty fish such as salmon and trout)

      • Docosahexaenoic acid (found in mackerel, herring, halibut, tuna, salmon, cod liver and whale blubber)

    • The good fats scavenge the bad cholesterol from the inner lining of the blood vessel and carry them into the liver. They help avert plaque formation, which contributes to cardiovascular diseases.
    • Good sources for these fats include seeds, nuts, fish and its sources (fish oil supplements).
  • Coenzyme Q10:
    • Often referred to as a heart health enzyme, it is naturally produced by our body to promote crucial functions such as blood pressure regulation and electron transport.
    • In particular, it helps the powerhouse of the cell, the mitochondria, in the conversion of food compounds into energy.
    • They also function as antioxidants preventing harm caused by free radicals to our body through oxidation.

Basic tips for heart-healthy eating

  • Eat a variety of fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruits without high-calorie sauces or added salt and sugars.
  • Replace high-calorie foods with fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose fiber-rich whole grains for most grain servings.
  • Choose poultry and fish without skin and prepare them in healthy ways without added saturated and trans-fat.
  • Select fat-free (skim) and low-fat (1 percent) dairy products.
  • Avoid foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans-fat in your diet.
  • Limit saturated fat and trans-fat and replace them with better fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
  • Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars.
  • Choose foods with less sodium and prepare foods with little or no salt.
  • Quit smoking since tobacco is bad for just about every aspect of your health and can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, which means no more than one drink per day for women.
  • The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults aged 18 to 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep per night for optimum heart and overall health.
  • Learning simple and effective healthy stress management techniques can help you keep your heart healthy.

Which physical activity is recommended to keep my heart healthy?

The simplest way to get moving and improve your health is to start walking. Taking a brisk walk for 15 minutes a few times a day will help you keep your heart healthy.

The American Heart Association gives the following recommendations for physical activity in adults:

  • Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both preferably spread throughout the week.
  • Add moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (such as resistance or weights) on at least two days per week.
  • Even light-intensity activity can offset some of the risks of being sedentary.
  • Gain even more benefits by being active at least 300 minutes (five hours) per week.
  • Increase amount and intensity gradually over time.

If you can’t reach 150 minutes per week in the beginning, you may set more reachable goals. Work up towards the recommended amount by increasing your time as you get stronger.

What are the good fats for the heart?

Fat is the richest source of dietary energy available in your diet. The good fats for the heart may include:

Monounsaturated fats:

  • These types of fatty acids reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and can improve your health.
  • Examples of monounsaturated fats are vegetable oils, peanut butter, avocado and nuts.

Polyunsaturated fats:

  • These are essential fats that your body needs to perform well.
  • These fats can also help in decreasing the risk of heart diseases and lowering blood cholesterol levels.
  • Examples of polyunsaturated fats are soybean oil, canola oil, walnuts, etc.

Omega-3 fatty acids:

  • These fatty acids are found in fish.
  • These tend to lower the risk of artery diseases and also prevent type-2 diabetes.
  • Examples of Omega-3 fatty acids are fish, walnuts and dark chocolates.

SLIDESHOW

Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 8/12/2021
References
Keeping your heart healthy: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/keeping-your-heart-healthy

How to take care of your heart health: https://www.who.int/philippines/news/feature-stories/detail/how-to-take-care-of-your-heart-health

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats: https://crispregional.org/good-fats-vs-bad-fats/