Our heart is the engine of our life. It works at its best day in and day out and continuously pumps blood through our body throughout our lives. On average, it beats about 100,000 times a day in order to supply our whole organism and every cell with enough oxygen and nutrients. If our heart is not healthy or its ability to function is limited, we face life-threatening consequences. For this reason, we need to protect our hearts in the best possible way – first and foremost, a healthy lifestyle goes a long way, as these three tips show:
3 tips for a healthy heart
1. Balanced diet
Several studies have shown that Mediterranean cuisine is considered particularly protective for the heart and can prevent cardiovascular disease. Fresh vegetables such as tomatoes and zucchini, fish and high quality vegetable oils are an essential part of the Mediterranean diet. This has a positive effect on your cholesterol levels and can lower your LDL cholesterol levels. This so-called “bad” cholesterol promotes deposits in the walls of the vessels. These in turn lead to thickening of vessels and blood circulation. Other healthy foods that prevent such arteriosclerosis are low-sugar fruits, fiber-rich whole-grain products, and legumes. In particular, avoid trans fats. They are found in abundance in fried, roasted or baked foods such as chips, fries or pastries.
2. Regular exercise
It’s no longer a secret: Many people are aware that regular exercise is a veritable fountain of youth and beneficial for our entire cardiovascular system. Sport also helps prevent fat and calcium deposits in the vessels. Endurance sports such as jogging, walking, cycling or swimming are particularly recommended. Through regular activity, the performance of the heart is increased, the blood flow to the heart muscle is improved and your various blood values are positively influenced. According to the German Heart Foundation, you should do 30 minutes of endurance training about five times a week.
3. Avoid stress
There’s one thing our hearts don’t like at all – and that’s stress. This form of mental stress is considered one of the most common risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Why? Persistent stress causes our blood pressure to skyrocket. In severe cases, stress can lead to heart arrhythmias, heart failure, or even heart failure. But how can we even perceive stress? Typical stress symptoms include inner restlessness, trouble sleeping, and constant fatigue. But managing stress isn’t always easy. Each of us handles stress differently. While some calm down with sport, others swear by meditation. For this reason, it’s important to find the balance that’s right for you.
>> More on the subject stress relief can be found in our VITAL podcast episode “Dr. Ilona Bürgel speaks: Relax!”.
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