3 Surprising Ways to Win Back Your Heart Health
We’ve heard it all before: eat more fruit, veggies, and whole grains, cut back on stress, get more exercise – health advice like this has become so commonplace, we barely acknowledge it anymore. So if you’re looking for a new twist on some valuable heart health tactics, you may be surprised by what we’ve discovered.
Most of us take for granted the endless hours that our hearts spend pumping away. But did you know that many of us have a “heart age” that far surpasses our actual age? According to the Center for Disease Control, almost 75% of Americans have heart ages that are years beyond where they should be.
While some heart disease risk factors like age, gender, and family history can’t be helped, there are some simple ways to discover your own personal fountain of youth, and literally turn back the clock on your heart’s health.
Eat More Cherries, Blueberries, and … Dark Chocolate?
Science might not yet agree on why cocoa and dark chocolate can boost your heart health, but there’s no denying the research that supports this wondrous fact. The cocoa that’s used to make dark chocolate comes from cacao beans, and these seeds are rich in flavonoids, antioxidants, and flavanols.
As natural antioxidants, not only do flavonoids improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and prevent blood clots, they can also help to repair cell damage. And as the main type of flavonoid found in dark chocolate, flavanols combine all of these benefits into one powerful, vascular health promoting package.
Just the same, it’s important to remember that chocolate does contain sugar and saturated fats; so experts suggest enjoying an ounce of dark chocolate – containing 70% cocoa or more – no more than a few times a week.
Sleep Your Way to Better Heart Health
While it may seem like getting more sleep is taking stress reduction to a whole new level, the National Sleep Foundation makes it clear that “people who don’t sleep enough are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease” – and that’s before taking age, weight, smoking, or exercise habits into account!
Studies show that if you get less than six hours of sleep a night, you’re almost twice as likely to fall victim to a heart attack or stroke. Ideally, you should aim for 6 – 8 hours of good quality sleep to keep your glucose metabolism under control, and your heart in tip-top shape.
Take a Stand and Get More Out of Life
Did you know that, whether you exercise regularly or not, sitting for multiple hours every day can literally take years off your life? In today’s high-tech world, many of us perch in front of computers for hours at a time, and according to the CDC, this is one of the worst things we can do for our heart health.
Not only can prolonged sitting lead to a shortened lifespan, it also affects our life quality by contributing to obesity, diabetes, cancer, and chronic cardiovascular diseases.
The human body was meant to move, so if you do sit a lot, be sure to take frequent breaks to stand and stretch throughout the day. Not only can standing more often increase your metabolism and keep blood pressure under control, it can also improve your mood, energy, and your creativity. All of which makes for a happier heart, and a happier you.
Intrigued? Why not consider incorporating these proven health habits into your daily regimen and see how they positively impact your heart? With a smart health device like MOCAheart, you can easily track your pulse wave velocity, heart rate, and blood oxygen to monitor any improvements in your heart’s health over time.