In my struggle to control my cholesterol and improve my heart health I have tried a number of different things. From taking supplements which may or may not have helped, to radically changing my diet, I have come to the fast realization that improving your heart health and generally living a healthy life comes down to numerous factors, mainly having to do with lifestyle changes. I have written about this in the past, but feel that it is important to reiterate that there isn't one thing that improves your health - but rather, a combination of many.
After eliminating the easy ones (such as quitting smoking, moderate consumption of alcohol, cutting out fatty foods, and daily exercise), there are a few additional suggestions that I have found not only to help my overall heart health but also my energy level and state of mind:
Walking Your Dog - walking your dog twice a day will have you well on your way to long-term heart health, plus, it will make your furry friend a much happier and healthier dog. If you don't have a dog, consider adopting one. You won't just be making yourself healthier, but you will also be providing a good home to a new friend.
Discovering "Whole Grains" - Switching to whole grain bread and whole wheat pastas improves your heart health by offering a great source of vitamins and minerals, and fiber, which can help lower your cholesterol and keep you feeling fuller longer. White breads and pastas are high in bad carbs which put on weight and increase blood sugar levels.
Getting Lots of Sleep - Shoot for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night (may differ per individual...I only need about 7 hours, while my wife is famous for needing 10). Not getting enough sleep can cause high blood pressure and increase the chances of heart disease.
Taking Care of Your Smile - A nice smile needs a healthy set of teeth to go with it and the only way to do that is to floss and brush regularly. According to the American Academy of Periodontology people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease, so make sure to see the dentist regularly too.
Doing Something You Enjoy - Whether it is hiking, being out in the sun, shopping, reading a book, or cooking a fancy dinner make sure to do something you enjoy at least once a day. Doing something you enjoy is a great stress reducer that helps you get some positive perspective on your life.
We'll see how all of these have helped me next week when I visit my cardiologist to go over my latest blood cholesterol screening and EKG. Wish me luck!!
Published On: November 08, 2010