tips to protect your heart

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Tips to Protect Your Heart

11. Get your sleep
Several studies have linked poor sleep with high blood pressure. Lack of sleep is also associated with accumulation of abdominal fat, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
12. Eat more vegetables
People who eat seven portions of vegetables and fruit a day are 31 percent less likely to die from heart disease compared to people who eat just one, according to a study by University CollegeLondon.
13. Avoid simple sugars
Simple sugars (the kind found in processed foods like white bread and biscuits) have been linked to higher levels of triglycerides which contribute to heart disease. Swap white rice, flour and pasta for healthier brown versions and keep your hands off the biscuits.
14. Make more friends
Older people who had a large network of friends outlived those with the fewest friends by 22%, according to research from the Centre for Ageing Studies at Flinders University, Australia.Having a strong social network helps you deal with lifes challenges and helps combat stress and depression.
15. Eat breakfast
Men who skip breakfast are 27 percent more likely to have a heart attack or die from coronary heart disease than those who eat when they wake up. According to research from Harvard University, going without food in the morning puts extra strain on the body.
16. Snack on walnuts
As well as helping to reduce your cholesterol levels, snacking on a handful of walnuts each day can improve blood vessel function, according to research from Penn State University inAmerica.
17. Salmon
Eating one to two servings of oily fish a week could reduce your risk of dying of a heart attack, say researchers from Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Washington. The omega3 fatty acids are believed to reduce triglycerides and lower blood pressure.
18. Sleep
Two sleeprelated problems that plague many people sleep deprivation and sleep apnea have been linked to a higher risk of heart disease.

Sleep deprivation. Over time, inadequate or poor quality sleep can increase the risk for a number of chronic health problems, including heart disease. Studies have linked shortterm sleep deprivation with several wellknown contributors to heart disease, including high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure.

Sleep apnea. This common cause of loud, disruptive snoring makes people temporarily stop breathing many times during the night. Up to 83% of people with heart disease also have sleep apnea, according to some estimates.

In the most common form, obstructive sleep apnea, soft tissue in the upper part of the mouth or back of the throat completely blocks the airway. Oxygen levels dip and the brain sends an urgent Breathe now! signal. That signal briefly wakes the sleeper and makes him or her gasp for air. That signal also jolts the same stress hormone and nerve pathways that are stimulated when you are angry or frightened. As a result, the heart beats faster and blood pressure rises along with other things that can threaten heart health such as inflammation and an increase in blood clotting ability.
19. Check your stress at the door
A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological factors are literally heartfelt, and can contribute to cardiac risk. Stress from all sorts of challenging situations and events plays a significant role in cardiovascular symptoms and outcome, particularly heart attack risk. The same is true for depression, anxiety, anger, hostility, and social isolation. Acting alone, each of these factors heightens your chances of developing heart problems. But these issues often occur together, for example, psychological stress often leads to anxiety, depression can lead to social isolation, and so on.

Does reducing stress, or changing how you respond to it, actually reduce your chances of developing heart disease or having a heart attack? The answer isnt entirely clear, but many studies suggest the answer is
20. Have more sex
Getting busy at least twice a week can reduce your risk for heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing stress, says obgyn Andrew Scheinfeld, M.D., a clinical instructor at New York University Langone Medical Center. Youll still be helping your heart even if you never reach the Big O; researchers suspect that just being aroused can trigger your brain to release hormones such as dehydroepiandrosterone , which may improve circulatorysystem function and boost cardiac performance.

No partner? No worries. I encourage my patients to take matters into their own hands, says Scheinfeld. And science backs him up. Numerous studies show that women who experience increased sexual frequency and satisfactionwith a mate or on their ownhave a greater resistance to heart disease.


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