It’s no wonder heart disease is the top killer each year. Poor heart health leads to life-threatening conditions like high blood pressure, heart failure, heart attacks, and stroke. Fortunately, most heart conditions are preventable or reversible with simple heart-healthy steps.
At Medinet Family Care Clinic in Houston, TX, Dr. Bharat Gandhi and his team offer comprehensive internal medicine services, including help with heart health. He also understands the power of prevention. Our team has put together this guide to help you stop heart issues before they start.
Read on to learn five practical ways you can improve your heart health!
1. Choose heart-healthy foods
The most practical thing you can do for your heart health is eat a heart-healthy diet. For the most significant benefits, center your diet around plants. Choose fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, like legumes and beans, and unprocessed (whole) fats, like avocado.
You’ll also want to avoid eating foods that hurt your heart. You can do this by staying away from things like all processed sugars, excessive salt, saturated fat, and processed and pre-packaged foods.
2. Move and lift more
Choose an activity that you enjoy to stick with it and commit to moving more at least five days each week for at least 30 minutes. Moving more ensures your heart keeps oxygen-rich blood pumping through your body.
Improving your overall body strength also works to keep your heart healthy. Aim to lift more throughout the week or choose to complete a specific weight-training routine two to three times per week. If you’re new to exercise, Dr. Gandhi can help you create an exercise routine that works with your needs.
3. Monitor your weight
Carrying extra pounds means your heart has to work harder than it should, increasing the risk of trouble. Losing the extra weight improves your overall health, but it also improves multiple factors related to your heart health, like lower blood pressure and improved cholesterol.
A practical way to lose weight is to shift your focus from counting calories or measuring to consuming whole, healthy foods (mostly plants) and increasing your activity levels.
4. Practice stress management
People have a hard time coping with stress in a heart-healthy way. This is important because unhealthy stress management strategies (e.g., lounging around, overeating, smoking, drinking alcohol, staying up too late, or sleeping too much) increase your risk of developing life-threatening cardiovascular diseases.
Keep it simple and choose at least one heart-healthy stress management technique you can implement to boost your cardiovascular health. For example, when you feel stressed, try deep breathing to the count of eight or go for a walk.
5. Check your blood pressure
High blood pressure is a precursor of heart attacks and a significant indicator of heart disease. It’s easy to monitor your numbers by using blood pressure machines found at most pharmacies and grocery stores or a simple at-home machine.
Don’t forget to have your blood pressure checked by a medical professional annually if you’re over 40 or have a history of high blood pressure or every three years if you’re under 40. Regular care at Medinet Family Care Clinic ensures a quick blood pressure check and evaluation of other important heart health markers.
Learn more about improving your heart health by booking a consultation with Dr. Ghandi. Either call our Houston office at 281-564-3300 or request an appointment online.