Heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other disease. One in four people die of heart conditions. Being proactive about your health and well being can significantly reduce your chances of serious cardiology problems, and some of the things you can do might surprise you. Here are 3 things you didn’t know could save your life.
1. Consume Sugar Differently
Carbohydrates can play a surprising role in the development of heart disease. Many Americans eat far too much added sugar. Simple carbohydrates, like white bread and sweetened soft drinks, cause rapid rises in blood glucose levels. The cause-effect relationship of even mild blood sugar spikes and heart disease is not well understood, but there are ways you can enjoy sugar and white starches without increasing your risk of heart attack.
To solve this problem, you don’t need to go full on Paleo, or avoid the foods you love. Simply reduce the amount of added sugar you consume, and when you do consume it, try to take it with a dose of protein or fiber. These macronutrients are harder for your body to digest, so they slow down the absorption of sugar into your blood stream. This creates a slower, smaller rise in glucose levels that are much easier for the body to handle. Switching to whole grains, and eating the skin with potatoes are great ways to get fiber with your carbs.
2. Eat Peanuts
You may be aware that having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of heart disease. Preventing type 2 diabetes is possible for many people, and one good way to do that is to eat peanuts.
A plant based diet in general is a good idea for health maintenance, but peanuts have a special power. They not only help control blood sugar spikes when they are consumed alone, but eating them with foods that do spike blood sugar decreases that effect. The peanut butter and jelly sandwich can actually be a healthy lunch. Just be careful to buy peanut butter that doesn’t have a lot of added sugars.
3. Go for a Nature Walk
You already know that exercise is good for your heart. It keeps your heart and lungs fit, can help control your weight, and produces endorphins, which help reduce stress. Walking is a great choice for many people who have problems completing more challenging exercise routines, and also for people who are looking to reduce their risk of heart attack.
Quite aside from the cardiovascular and weight management benefits of walking, a stroll in a natural setting can significantly reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone produced in the adrenal glands that sit above your kidneys. It increases your heart and respiration rate, and can induce feelings of anxiety, stress and fear. It can also be a contributing factor in triggering heart attacks.
Walking in general is good for reducing cortisol levels, but walking in nature has been found to be even more effective. If you’re looking to reduce anxiety and stress long term, though, avoid running. Running produces a lot of endorphins, but is a high impact exercise and can actually increase cortisol levels.
Preventing heart disease is something for which many Americans should be striving. Keeping your heart healthy helps ensure you’ll be around for the long haul. It doesn’t have to involve hours every day at the gym or restrictive diets no one actually wants to eat. You can prevent heart disease by making simple, small, sustainable changes in your daily routines and eating habits. Now that you know how easy it can be to start keeping your heart healthy, are you ready to get started?