29 Ways to Naturally Improve and Maintain Heart Health

Improving your heart health

Improving heart health is essential for many reasons, including the importance of the heart to send oxygen and nutrients to the body's tissues.

Several natural and quick ways to improve heart health are to eat more fiber, eat less sodium and saturated fat, choose heart-healthy fats, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, eat low-fat dairy products, exercise regularly, do resistance training, spend less time sitting around, stop smoking and stay away from secondhand smoke, and drink alcohol in moderation. People can lower their risk of heart disease and improve their overall health by making some of the changes listed below.

Keep reading to learn all of the ways to improve your heart health or skip to tip #29 for a clinically proven food-based solution to improve heart health markers in as little as 8 weeks without additional diet or lifestyle changes.

  1. Increase your dietary fiber intake. Fiber can help you feel fuller, lower cholesterol levels, even can help with blood pressure and heart rate, as well as improve overall health. Good sources of fiber include beans, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 
  2. Maintain a moderate weight. A healthy weight puts less strain on your heart. To maintain a moderate weight, aim to balance calorie intake through diet and regular exercise.
  3. Lower your daily sodium intake. Consuming too much sodium can cause your body to retain water, which puts extra strain on your heart. To reduce your sodium intake, choose foods labeled "no salt added," avoid foods with more than 400 milligrams of sodium per serving, and aim to stay below 2000 milligrams total per day. Instead of using salt in your cooking, try using other seasonings. 
  4. Lower your saturated fat intake. Saturated fats can contribute to plaque builds up in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. You can reduce your intake of saturated fats by eating low-fat cuts of meat and reduced dairy products. In general, greasy foods are likely to be higher in saturated fats.
  5. Eat at regular intervals. Suppose you don't eat regularly or skip meals. In that case, it can throw off your body's natural processes and make it more likely to be affected by heart disease. Plan to eat regular, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day.
  6. Choose heart-healthy fats. Unsaturated fats can benefit your heart health by reducing inflammation in the body. Inflammation is a risk factor for heart disease. Heart-healthy fats include olive oil, vegetable oil, low-fat mayonnaise, and oil-based salad dressings. A Mediterranean diet is a tasty way to eat healthier fats and lower cholesterol.
  7. Spend less time sitting. Standing, walking, and moving around are all the better for your heart's health than sitting for long periods. Use a standing desk or take regular daily walk breaks. The AHA warns that physical inactivity is connected to increased risk of heart disease and premature death.
  8. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are full of nutrients and are lower in calories, which can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce inflammation. The fresher and more colorful your choices, the better. A study of 326 middle-aged adults with no known history of heart disease found that eating a lot of fruits and vegetables for eight weeks significantly decreased biomarkers linked to damaged and stressed heart cells. The study, which compared the effects of a control diet to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and the heart-healthy DASH diet, found that the two diets that were rich in fruits and vegetables had no negative effect on markers of inflammation. The research was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
  9. Eat low-fat dairy products. Low-fat dairy products are a healthier alternative to high-fat options. Some examples include 1% milk, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat or fat-free cheeses.
  10. Get enough exercise each week. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends adults get at least 2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week or 1 hour of vigorous activity. Mixing moderate and vigorous activity is also acceptable.
  11. Limit added sugars. Added sugars are often found in processed and packaged foods and can contribute to heart disease. Plan to limit your intake of added sugars and choose foods with natural sugars, such as fruits, instead.
  12. Get your blood pressure checked regularly. Having high blood pressure is a known risk factor for heart disease, so it's important to have it checked regularly. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and even medication to lower it.
  13. Get your cholesterol levels checked. Another factor that can increase your risk for heart disease and metabolic disorders is high cholesterol. When your cholesterol levels are high, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and even medication to lower them.
  14. Get tested for diabetes. Diabetes is known to increase your risk of heart disease and metabolic health issues, so it's important to know your risk. Your doctor can test for diabetes through a blood test.
  15. Don't neglect resistance training. Resistance training activities, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, can boost your metabolism, help you lower your blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight.
  16. Don't smoke. Smoking is harmful to your heart health. If you smoke, now is a good time to try quitting. You can call 1-800-QUIT-NOW to access a 24-hour quit line with resources to help you quit smoking.
  17. Avoid secondhand smoke. Being exposed to secondhand smoke also puts your heart health at risk. If someone in your house smokes, you can ask them to smoke outside or encourage them to quit.
  18. Avoid excess alcohol intake. Drinking excess alcohol can increase your risk of heart disease. It's important to drink in moderation. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) recommendation is no more than 2 drinks per day for adults.
  19. Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
  20. Manage stress. Chronic stress can contribute to heart disease, so it's important to seek ways to manage it. Some ways to reduce stress include practicing proven relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, and engaging in activities you enjoy.
  21. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is important for overall health, including heart health. Aim for 8–10 cups of water per day or more if you are physically active.
  22. Avoid processed foods. Processed foods are known to be high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and sodium, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Choose whole, unprocessed foods as often as possible.
  23. Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts, seeds, and fish are good sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce metabolic health issues and chronic inflammation and improve heart health. 
  24. Add nuts to your diet. Nuts, like almonds and walnuts, are a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats and protein. They can also help lower cholesterol levels.
  25. Eat more plant-based proteins. Plant-based proteins, such as beans, tofu, and nuts, are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol than animal-based proteins. Incorporating more plant-based proteins into your diet can improve heart health.
  26. Eat less red and processed meat. Red meat and processed meats are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which can increase your risk of heart disease. Choose lean cuts of meat and limit your intake of processed meats, such as deli meat and bacon
  27. Eat more whole grains. Whole grains, such as barley, oats and brown rice, are a good source of fiber and nutrients and can help lower cholesterol levels. Choose whole grains over refined grains, such as white bread and pasta, whenever possible.
  28. Get your vitamin D from the sun or supplements. Vitamin D is important for bone health and may also have a protective effect on the heart. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but you can also get it from Vitamin D-rich foods or supplements. 
  29. Supplement with a daily Healright Micronutrient Bar. Healright bars offer a convenient, synergistic blend of vitamins, minerals, fiber, key nutrients, and power foods. As you can see, the list of ways to stay heart-healthy can be a lot to digest, literally. On top of that, it can be overwhelming to do all of these things on a regular basis, and consistency is the key to a healthy heart, keeping triglycerides, and cholesterol in the normal range. If you're seeking convenience, time-savings, tasty and trackable results, consider Healright as part of your heart-healthy plan.

Following these 29 tips can quickly and naturally improve your heart's health and reduce your risk of heart disease. Plus, research shows a heart-healthy lifestyle is linked to a lower risk of developing cancer, so you have double the reason to adopt a healthy lifestyle. 

As always, please consult your doctor or dietitian before making any changes to your diet.

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