Six Easy Steps Towards a Healthy Heart

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Step 1: Know your numbers. Your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels are the most important numbers you will need to know before you begin on the path to good heart health. Higher the numbers, greater is your chance of developing heart disease.

Step 2: Start walking. Exercise is the fountain of youth. A simple 20- to 30-minute walk a daily can actually reduce the risk of heart disease by a significant amount.

Step 3: Laugh out loud. Laughter really is the best medicine. Just 15 minutes of laughter is about equivalent to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise with respect to our cardiovascular health. Laughter has also been linked to the healthy function of blood vessels, an increase of the brain hormones that improve mood, and reduction of stress. Increased levels of stress have been linked to higher risk for heart diseases.

Step 4: Focus on your waistline, not your weight. Your waistline is a better measurement of your overall health than your weight because the amount of fat around your waistline is directly linked to high blood pressure and high cholesterol and can place you at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.

Step 5: Watch what you eat. Your diet plays an important role in maintaing a healthy heart. For a heart healthy diet, limit salt, unhealthy fats and cholesterol, choose low-fat protein sources and include more whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your diet.

Step 6: Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is one of the most undervalued elements of our daily routines, but it is absolutely vital to good health. Lack of sleep increases your blood pressure, induces stress, increases your appetite and slows down your metabolism, dampens your mood, all of which can increase the risk of developing heart diseases.

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