Your heart beats around 2.5 billion times over the average lifespan, pumping blood and transporting oxygen throughout your body. Its responsibilities are far-reaching, so making sure it’s in great shape is an essential part of your overall wellbeing.
Why is maintaining a healthy heart important?
Whether it’s your desires or your heart health, matters of the heart should not be taken lightly. And having a healthy heart can help you in more than one way.
A healthy heart will help prevent cardiovascular disease
Making sure your heart is of optimal health can reduce your chances of getting cardiovascular disease and maybe even prevent it altogether. This is because maintaining a healthy heart involves watching out for risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Both high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can lead to atherosclerosis. This happens when there is a buildup of plaque on the walls of blood vessels, which causes them to narrow. This makes it harder for the heart to pump blood through your circulatory system.
When left untreated, the plaque buildup can rupture and cause your blood to form a clot. This clot makes the blood vessels narrower and harder for oxygen to be carried throughout the rest of the body. As more clots form and your arteries narrow further, the artery walls become thicker and harden. This can cause heart and kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, and different types of heart disease.
It will lower the risk of a decline in cognitive health
Your lifestyle choices to improve heart health can better your brain health as well. This is because both dementia and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. This includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
In fact, high cholesterol levels during midlife are known to have a strong connection with a decrease in cognitive function. Although we don’t know the exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease, amyloid plaques, found in people with the disease, may be part of the reason.
A study found that higher levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol were associated with having more amyloid plaques in the brain. LDL cholesterol is considered “bad” cholesterol, while HDL is “good” cholesterol. In other words, having higher levels of bad cholesterol in your body is linked to increased amounts of amyloid plaques, ultimately increasing the risk of heart disease.
Poor heart health can be connected to depression
Taking charge of your heart health can also help your mental health. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, around 20 to 30% of cardiac patients also have depression. This includes preexisting depression as well as depression as a result of experiencing cardiac issues.
People who have mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over a long period of time may experience physiological effects on their bodies. This includes elevated cardiac reactivity (increased heart rate and blood pressure), reduced blood flow to the heart, and increased cortisol levels. Eventually, these physiological effects can cause heart disease, calcium buildup on the arteries, and metabolic disease.
Who is prone to heart disease?
There are some factors that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This includes:
- Smoking – Smoking and long-term exposure to secondhand smoking can increase your chances of getting heart disease because they increase your blood pressure levels.
- Obesity – This is linked to high cholesterol levels in your blood, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and diabetes.
- Sedentary lifestyle – Lack of sufficient physical activity or being completely inactive can increase cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Genetics – If your immediate family members have had a heart attack by the age of 55-65, you may be more prone to one as well. Although you may not be able to control your family history, you can use this knowledge to take charge of your own heart health.
Nine out of ten Canadians have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Although that may not sound so good, it’s important to note that 80% of early-stage heart disease can be reversed by choosing to follow a healthier lifestyle. And we can help you with that! Here are some tips for a healthy heart.
Following a scheduled workout routine can help you maintain a healthy weight and manage your stress, both of which are important for your heart health. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that adults should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in periods of 10 minutes or more. The activity does not have to be continuous. You can break your workouts into 10-minute sessions that you can complete throughout the day to reach your daily total if you’re tight on time.
Eat a heart-healthy diet
Eating a diet that’s beneficial to your heart also means letting go of unhealthy habits such as smoking and foods that are highly processed or fried foods that increase your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Apart from that, increasing your intake of polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids can help your heart feel good. Good sources of omega-3s include mackerel, salmon, and avocados. You can also try taking an omega-3 supplement such as this one. These fats reduce the amounts of LDL cholesterol or “bad” cholesterol levels in your blood and decrease your chances of developing heart disease.
Consuming leafy greens and whole grains are also essential for a healthy heart. Leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens are rich in vitamin K, which is known to protect your arteries and aid with proper blood clotting. Whole grains have a lot of fibre, which helps lower your cholesterol levels.
We understand that diet alone may not always be enough to maintain your heart health. You can also try including supplements that support your heart.
CanPrev’s Ubiquinol 100 can help protect your heart from free radical damage and may also play a role in migraine prevention. Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant and an active form of Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10), which plays a crucial role in powering your heart with adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It provides your heart with the energy it needs to function so you can feel active and energized.
Our heart is one of the most vital organs in our bodies, and you’re never too young or too old to start caring for your heart. You’ve already taken the first step by getting to the end of this article. Here’s to a strong, healthy, and happy heart!
The Importance Of Having A Healthy Heart
Heart disease and depression: A two-way relationship
Dementia and Heart Health: Are They Related?
How much physical activity do you need?
Heart Disease and Mental Health Disorders
Arteriosclerosis / atherosclerosis