The heart is one of the most mythical organs in our bodies. It’s the source of physical health and is seen as the source of emotional health as well. Of course, we all know that the heart isn’t really where our emotions come from, but it’s still very symbolic in our culture. Regardless, heart health is a big deal when it comes to getting and staying physically healthy.
The neat thing? Our emotional and mental health does have an impact on our heart. Maybe our ancestors were on to something after all.
As we age and our lifestyle choices take a toll, it becomes even more important to make sure our hearts are healthy and strong. Whether you’ve got a physical issue that requires you to take action or you just want to put a little prevention into place, we’ve gathered together the best tips to help you choose behaviors that will help you cultivate more heart health.
9 Steps to Heart Health
1. Move your body.
The heart is a muscle and, like your biceps or quads, it really benefits from exercise. You don’t need to plan out extravagant exercise routines to benefit your heart health. Just taking a brisk walk somewhere beautiful can help. Or head out for a bike ride or hike in the woods. Getting your heart rate up can help strengthen your heart and lead to a longer, healthier lifespan.
2. Eat heart-healthy foods.
While there are several schools of thought when it comes to what is considered heart health-promoting, generally everyone agrees that we need to eat more whole, natural foods. Vegetables are always a great choice for increasing your overall health and the vitamins, minerals, and fiber in veggies are great for caring for your heart. Decrease your processed food intake as well, and you’ll be on the path to a stronger heart in no time.
3. Take care of your health conditions.
If you live with health issues such as diabetes, take good care of your body and always get medical help to maintain health. It’s important to prevent worsening of the condition since it takes a high toll on organs such as your heart. If your condition is a lifelong thing you’ll need to manage, see your health goals as improving and strengthening your body so it can handle the condition with ease. You can do it!
4. Reduce your inflammation.
Science is showing us over and over again that inflammation is a killer. It’s also just generally a pain to deal with on a regular basis. If you suffer from daily effects of inflammation you know how hard it can be. Inflammation is typically caused by lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking alcohol, eating processed foods, and so much more. Find the areas of your life that you can improve and you’ll see a reduction in your inflammation levels.
5. Take heart health-boosting supplements.
There are a number of vitamins and minerals that are really healthy and healing for the heart. These include fish oils (for omega-3 fatty acids), vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. You can also take selenium, carotenoids, coenzyme Q10, as well as turmeric and garlic. Figure out where you’re lacking in your diet and supplement as needed. Always check with your healthcare provider to make sure supplements are fine to take if you’re on medication or specialized medical treatments.
6. Reduce your stress levels.
It’s no secret that stress can raise your blood pressure. Stress can also increase inflammation and cause you to make lifestyle choices that harm your body and heart. Find the things in your life that you can start saying ‘no’ to and begin to chip away at the block of stress you’re carrying around. Say ‘yes’ to more peace and relaxation in your life.
7. Develop a meditation practice.
Mindfulness is an excellent way to calm the body and mind, shifting hormones levels are harmful to your health. You can do this in whatever way works best for your life and needs. Meditation doesn’t need to be elaborate to be effective. Even just a quiet 5 minute break several times a day can do wonders with your mind and for your heart health.
8. Learn more about the heart chakra.
This special center of the body is focused on warmth, compassion, kindness, and connection. Integrating more focus on this chakra can help you develop more of those qualities, pulling you into a space of more self-love and gentleness with yourself. These qualities are typically just what’s needed when you’re trying to heal and strengthen your heart health.
9. Practice love toward yourself.
Often, heart issues stem from lifestyle factors that come into play because we are stressed, overwhelmed, and frustrated with life. We go-go-go all day long at breakneck speed, confronting anxiety and panic with every missed deadline or never-ending to-do list. At night, we eat comfort foods that aren’t great for our bodies and drown our sorrows in alcohol. Then we wake up and do it all over again.
Take some time to really reflect on how you are caring for yourself. Are you showing yourself the kind of love that you are showing your family members and friends? What things in your life would you change if you were to be more self-compassionate? Take the steps to embrace self-care at a core level and you’ll find yourself on the path toward a more gentle existence and greater heart health.