As we get older, it becomes more and more important to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Our hearts are one of our most vital organs, pumping blood at all times to keep us alive. As time goes along, however, it could use some help to keep doing its job as best as possible.
Plaques in our arteries accumulate as a result of fatty foods that we eat, causing our arteries to become tight and stiff, and preventing the blood from flowing properly between the heart and our other organs and tissues. Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do to help keep your precious heart functioning, and all it takes is a few changes to see big results. Check out this list of natural ways to boost your heart health today!
Mediterranean Diet Heart Health
Eat a heart healthy diet.
Eating for a healthy heart is actually pretty simple. Load your diet up with nuts, fresh fruit, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats like avocados and olive oil, and oily fish. Need a more concrete plan? The Mediterranean Diet has been linked to a significant lowered risk of heart disease and high cholesterol.
Nuts For Heart Health
If you’re eating to protect your heart, there’s a key culprit you’ll want to get rid of — sugar. Replace sugary snacks with heart healthy options like nuts and yogurt. We love this yogurt and honey snack loaded with healthy fat, natural sweetness, and tons of protein to tackle midday cravings!
Blueberries Heart Health
Fill up on berries.
Throwing some blueberries into your morning smoothie has heart-boosting benefits you’ll want to take advantage of. A recent study found that eating one cup of blueberries per day reduces the risk of heart disease by up to 15 percent.
Vegetable Oil Heart Health
Cut out harmful vegetable oils.
One study published in 2018 claimed that the high levels of omega-6 in common vegetable oils increase things like oxidative stress and inflammation, and therefore increasing our risk of coronary heart disease. For reference, Healthline reports that vegetable oils high in omega-3’s include generic “vegetable oil,” canola, soybean, sunflower, peanut, sesame, corn, cottonseed, and rice bran oils.
Avocado Oil Heart Health
Eat heart-healthy oils.
Replace those nasty vegetable oils with some more nutritious oils instead! Avocado oil, olive oil (when consumed raw TL IS THERE A LINK B/C I THINK THAT MIGHT BE SURPRISING TO PEOPLE), pumpkin seed oil, flaxseed oil, and coconut oil have all shown to be good for your heart, loaded with health-boosting omega-3 fats.
Vacation Heart Health
Need an excuse to take a vacation? Findings from a recent study suggested that folks who used their vacation days for an actual vacation had a reduced risk of heart disease.
Puppy Heart Health
Adopt a pal.
Having a furry friend by your side is good for your heart, too! Researchers from one study found a link between dog ownership and better heart health, thinking it could be because owning a dog inspires many people to go outside more often and move around more frequently.
Tea Heart Health
Tea has been linked to so many healthy benefits for our brain, but it’s also great for our hearts. Certain teas like hibiscus tea are said to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Another way that tea benefits our heart health is by lowering stress, which has a negative impact on heart health. Luckily, there are several teas out there that help us kick anxiety to the curb. Read about some of our favorites, here!
Eating Early Heart Health
Eat dinner earlier.
When it comes to your heart, what you eat is just as important as when you eat. According to new research, women who consumed most of their daily calories later in the evening were at a greater risk for higher blood pressure, higher body mass index, and poorer long-term control of blood sugar — and even more so if they ate after 8 p.m.
Spices Heart Health
Spice up your life.
Think you’ll have to give up eating delicious foods for better heart health? Think again. Flavor-packed spices like turmeric, cayenne pepper, sumac, and cumin will all make your food taste great while offering heart healing benefits like lowered inflammation levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
Exercise Heart Health
Researchers from one recent study found that exercising may help restore an aging heart in a middle-aged person, even if that person wasn't active earlier in life. As lead researcher Ben Levine, MD described it, "their hearts essentially became more like younger hearts — being less stiff than they were before and processing oxygen much more efficiently."
Meditation Heart Health
Another simple and free way to improve the health of your heart is meditation. Extensive research from the American Heart Association found that a daily sitting meditation practice significantly lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease. Never tried to meditate before? Here’s a beginners guide to get you started.