It’s no secret that a healthy heart can lead to a longer life, but why? What is it about the condition of your heart that can determine how long it may or may not be able to support your body? By learning about the anatomy and function of the heart, you can easily understand how it pumps blood throughout your body, and what you can do to make it’s job a little easier. Here are a handful of heart health do’s and don’ts to follow:
1. DO eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables contain no cholesterol which can cause plaque in your blood vessels. The less plaque you have, the more easily blood can flow through your vessels, and the less pressure that is placed on your heart.
2. DON’T eat too much fat or red meat
All animal products contain cholesterol which can build up and clog your arteries. This makes it more difficult for your blood to pump through, increasing the pressure on your heart.
3. DO drink plenty of water
Your body is made of about 83% water, your bones are about 22% water, and your brain and muscles are about 75% water. It is essential for your body to absorb nutrients and get rid of waste. It also contributes to the viscosity (thickness) of blood, which is a factor in heart attacks.
4. DON’T drink sugary drinks
When you eat sugar, your body processes it and converts it to energy, but sometimes there’s more sugar than is needed. This unused sugar gets stored as fat, which can be deposited anywhere, including inside your blood vessels. These fat deposits can block the blood trying to travel through your arteries and veins, causing heart attacks and strokes.
5. DO exercise regularly
Just like your biceps, triceps and quads, your heart is a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets, and the more blood it move out of your heart with each pump. If it can move more blood with each pump, it doesn’t have to pump as often, decreasing your heart rate. When you exercise you also burn off extra calories that could turn into fat, eventually leading to clogged arteries. By exercising, you keep the plaque out of your blood vessels, decreasing your blood pressure.
6. DON’T smoke
Smoking causes plaque to build up in your lungs, which can prevent blood from flowing through your vessels. Over time, the plaque can cause complete blockages, which may result in a heart attack.