Heart health is one of the main concerns for both men and women in the United States. Many of us know that diet and exercise plays a major role in heart health, but what else can you do to maintain a healthy heart? (1).

 

Below are five ways to maintain your heart health today:

 

1. Avoid Trans Fats

This type of fat is the worst type to consume due to its harmful effect on heart health.

Unfortunately, avoiding trans fats isn’t as simple as it seems.

That’s because food companies are allowed to use the claim “contains 0 grams of trans fats” on the label as long as the product contains less than .5 grams of trans fat per serving.

 

Tip: Don’t be fooled by false advertising. Keep an eye out on the ingredient list for words such as “partially hydrogenated” or “hydrogenated” oils which are other name for trans fats.

 

2. Address the Middle 

Studies have found that individuals who have belly fat (also known as visceral fat) have a greater risk for dying from heart disease than those with obesity.

That’s because belly fat contains large amounts of fat that surround the internal organs, and can lead to conditions such as insulin resistance and high blood pressure (2, 3).

 

Tip: Focus on reducing belly fat through healthy eating, getting enough sleep at night, managing stress, and moving your body each day.

 

3. Get Up and Move 

Most people sit least 10 hours each day. From answering work emails to eating dinner with the family, most of our day involves sitting.

Unfortunately, all of this sitting is causing damage to our health. Some experts are calling sitting the new smoking because of its negative impact on heart health, weight, moods, muscles and joints (4).

 

Tip: Incorporate more movement throughout the day by getting up and stretching every hour, get off the couch during commercial breaks, stand while talking on the telephone, or get a standing desk for work.


4. Surround Yourself with Positive People 

A motivational speaker named Jim Rohn one said “you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

That means when you surround yourself with positive people, chances are, you will have a more positive outlook as well.

A positive outlook may help improve your eating habits, reduce anxiety and depression, lower stress, and increase your sense of purpose. All of which can help improve your heart health.

 

Tip: Make a list of positive people in your life and aim to spend more time with them. In addition, focus on following more positive people on social media, and unfollow those who are negative.

 

5. Manage Stress

We all have some type of stress in our lives, so it’s importance to learn to manage it in a healthy way.

Too much stress can lead to an increase in blood pressure, an increase in insulin levels, weight gain, physical inactivity, and poor sleeping habits. All of which can take a toll on our heart health (5).

 

Tip: Find a way to manage stress that you enjoy. This could be physical activity, writing in a journal, going on a walk, taking a bath, or talking with a friend. (6).

 

To maintain heart health it’s important to consume a nutrient-rich diet, incorporate daily movement, practice stress management techniques, and surround yourself with positivity. 

If you aren't already, focus on incorporating at least one of these tips to support your heart health today.