Heart Smarts: 4 Tips for Lifelong Heart Health

Selection of food that is good for the heart, rustic wood background

Half of all Americans have one of the top three risk factors for heart disease — high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Are you one of them?

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, but the news isn’t all bleak. Take a minute to improve your heart smarts to help you keep your ticker in tip-top shape:

1. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors.

Your doctor can help you understand your risks and what you can do to protect your heart. Use these American Heart Association tips to help you ask the right questions so you get the most from your doctor visit.

2. Feed your heart something good.

Sadly, your heart can’t live on love (or potato chips) alone! Keep it pumping properly with a balanced diet low in salt, sugar, and saturated fats, and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Use this handy heart-healthy shopping list to help you fill your cart with good-for-you groceries. With just a few ingredients, you’ll be surprised at the many delicious ways to feed your heart something good for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

3. Get up and get moving.

Sitting too much is linked to conditions that increase your risks for heart disease, including high blood pressure and obesity. Doctors recommend at least two-and-a-half hours of physical activity a week for adults, which is 30 minutes a day, five days a week.

There are plenty of ways to move more during your day, and one of the easiest is to take a brisk 30-minute walk. No matter how you do it, some physical activity is better than none!

4. Take care of your teeth (Yes, really).

Your dentist has told you how important it is to floss and brush your teeth after meals. But did you know that having minty fresh breath may help lower your heart disease risk? Research has shown there may be a link between oral health and heart disease.

Bacteria that cause gum disease may travel through the bloodstream, causing inflammation and damaging blood vessels. In addition to regular dental check-ups, polish your pearly whites at least twice a day to stop bacteria in their tracks.

Lifelong Heart Health is Possible

Make the relationship with your heart a love story that stands the test of time! If you’re an Independence Blue Cross member, take advantage of digital wellness tools and discounts to help you get fit, eat right, sleep better, and manage stress — all things that can help you enjoy lifelong heart health.

 

Mary Eileen O'Connor

About Mary Eileen O'Connor

My personal philosophy about health and well-being is to have simple goals and stick to them — whether it’s drinking more water, working in a few extra steps each day, or just making time to unplug. When I’m not busy writing creative content for a variety of audiences, my favorite ways to unwind include enjoying local arts and culture, reading a good book, and watching TV cooking shows.