The heart is the center of the cardiovascular system, providing nourishment and oxygen to the entire body while removing toxins and waste. A healthy heart lifestyle means a healthy body and mind, and taking care of your cardiovascular system can help you live a longer, fuller and more active life.
By living a healthy heart lifestyle, you can prevent your risk of diseases like:
- Coronary artery disease
- Congestive heart failure
An estimated 80-90% of heart disease cases are preventable. By adopting the right healthy heart lifestyle choices and following proven heart disease prevention tips, most people can significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases.1.2
Heart-Healthy Diet Tips
Diet is one of the leading contributors to heart health. A moderate and well-balanced diet can help keep your heart functioning properly, while a poor diet with few nutrients can lead to constricted and weakened blood vessels.
A heart-healthy diet has cardiovascular benefits like:
- Reduced body weight
- Lower blood pressure
- Healthier cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels
Below are some of the top heart-healthy diet tips for better cardiovascular health.
Eat Smaller Portions
A significant factor in managing your risk of heart disease is maintaining a healthy weight. A 2021 statement from the American Heart Association described how weight gain is a direct factor in the development of various cardiac problems. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight remains one of the most important ways to protect heart health.
Portion control is an effective weight loss strategy as it helps reduce the amount of calories consumed. Some portion-control tips include:
- Use a smaller plate
- Weigh and measure your serving sizes
- Use a calorie-tracking app or journal to monitor caloric intake
Consult a healthcare provider or registered dietician to get personalized dietary recommendations.
Up Your Fiber For Heart Health
Dietary fiber is essential to proper digestion and provides critical disease-prevention benefits. Found in sources like plants, whole grains and legumes, fiber is the indigestible portion of plant-based foods that helps eliminate waste from the body more efficiently. Recently, researchers have discovered that fiber also plays a crucial role in heart health.
Since fiber creates a gel-like substance in the gut, it collects and eliminates excessive cholesterol and other potentially harmful fats. High-fiber diets are also associated with lower blood pressure and improved insulin sensitivity.
High-fiber, heart-healthy foods include:
- Green peas
- Brussel sprouts
- Whole grain pasta and legumes
The Mayo Clinic recommends that women consume 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, while men should aim for 30 to 38 grams a day.
Include a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables
In addition to fiber, fruits and vegetables also provide excellent sources of a variety of antioxidants and other nutrients vital to heart health. Antioxidants help to stave off coronary artery disease by reducing fatty plaque build-up in the arteries, which is what constricts blood vessels and increases the heart’s workload.
Some of the top heart-healthy vitamins and nutrients are:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene found in carrots, squash and leafy greens
- Vitamin C found in tomatoes, bell peppers, citrus fruits and berries
- Co-enzyme Q10 found in fatty fish, organ meats and whole grains
- Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils, flaxseed and walnuts
Current research suggests that obtaining these nutrients via food sources rather than supplementation results in better disease prevention outcomes.
Avoid Unhealthy Fats
Knowing which foods to eat is only part of a heart-healthy diet. It’s also critical to know which foods to avoid. Overconsumption of sodium and unhealthy fats can increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Unhealthy fats are bad for your heart and include saturated and trans-unsaturated fats, which are found in highly processed foods as well as foods like poultry skin, bacon and full-fat milk and yogurt.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans state that adults should limit their saturated fat intake to 10% of their total daily calories.
One of the most important heart-healthy cooking tips is to avoid using hydrogenated cooking oils and fats like palm oil, margarine or shortening. Instead, swap them out for healthier oils, like olive, flaxseed or avocado oils.
Heart-Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Besides eating a proper diet, other healthy habits that can help you protect your cardiovascular system. Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol intake are two known ways to prevent heart disease, but adopting other heart-healthy lifestyle practices can help you optimize your heart health.
Increasing physical activity, reducing stress and getting enough sleep are three pillars of living a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Getting enough physical activity is essential to cardiovascular health, strengthening the heart, blood vessels and lungs.
Some of the ways that physical activity improves heart health include:
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces triglycerides (fat in the blood) and increases good cholesterol (HDL)
- Promotes weight loss
- Contributes to stable blood sugar levels
- Reduces inflammation markers that lead to heart disease
For an optimal heart-healthy lifestyle, it’s important to get some exercise every day. At a minimum, adults should spend 150 minutes per week doing moderate-intensity exercise to reduce their risk of heart disease. With 300 minutes of exercise per week, you can expect even greater heart health benefits.
Getting daily exercise is one of the most essential heart health lifestyle tips for seniors especially. Adults over the age of 65 are significantly more likely than younger people to suffer a heart attack or stroke or develop coronary artery disease due to the natural age-related changes the heart undergoes.
Stress is both a mental and physical condition, producing negative emotions and physiological symptoms. Chronic stress and the emotions that accompany it, like anxiety, depression and anger, put a burden on the nervous system and the heart.
Chronic stress can lead to heart health issues like:
- Irregular heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Heart inflammation
- Reduced blood flow
By practicing stress management techniques, it’s possible to protect heart health and reduce some of the negative physical effects of stress on the cardiovascular system.
Some of the top stress-relief practices include deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness and spending time in nature.
Improve Sleep Quality
Getting enough high-quality sleep is considered one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. Several studies have found strong links between sleep deprivation and heart conditions. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleep apnea, affect both the amount and quality of sleep a person gets regularly.
During a healthy sleep cycle, your heart rate should drop by 20-30% of your resting heart rate, allowing the cardiovascular system to rest and regenerate. However, in people with poor sleep quality, the heart rate doesn’t drop during sleep, meaning it continues to overwork, adding stress to the cardiac muscles and blood vessels.
Improve your sleep quality by:
- Adhering to a sleep schedule
- Getting enough exercise during the day
- Creating a sleep sanctuary that’s cool, dark and quiet
Improving sleep quality with the above steps can reduce the risk of heart disease mortality by up to 50%.
Wellness Solutions for a Healthier Heart
Get heart-healthy at home with wellness solutions that help you exercise, relax and sleep better. Below are the top recommended wellness solutions for a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Massage is a holistic therapy that can contribute to improved heart health. As a natural way to reduce stress and promote relaxation, massage can help lower blood pressure levels and reduce your heart rate.
Handheld massagers, like the Hypervolt 2 Massager, are self-massage solutions that help target sore muscles, relieve pain and promote relaxation. These tools also boost blood circulation and aid in muscle recovery so you can maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
With stress being a major contributor to poor heart health, it’s important to find ways to relax and unwind. Reclining in a zero-gravity chair, like the Perfect Chair® Zero Gravity Recliner, positions your body in the optimal posture for recovery.
In the zero-gravity position, your body is cradled in a neutral posture that relieves pressure from the spine, putting the nervous system into a state of relaxation. Zero-gravity recliners also bring your feet in line with your heart, reducing blood pressure and maximizing blood flow.
Protect your heart health by improving how you sleep. Getting consistent high-quality rest is possible with the right sleep solutions.
Tempur-Pedic® ergonomic mattresses are constructed with multiple layers of cooling and comforting patented materials that absorb your body weight and minimize overheating. Mattresses like the Tempur-LuxeBreeze are designed to help you relax comfortably, fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer so your body can get the rejuvenating rest it needs to keep your heart strong and healthy.
Shop Heart-Healthy Products at Relax The Back
Make exercise, relaxation and sleep a central part of your heart-healthy lifestyle wellness regime with solutions from Relax The Back. Discover our line of mattresses, recliners, massage therapy devices and more that promote rest and recovery.
Find the heart-healthy products you need for your lifestyle by shopping our online collections or visiting a store location near you. Book a virtual consultation with a wellness specialist and get personalized recommendations to improve your well-being at home, work or on the go.