1-in-4 deaths are caused by heart disease and most of them entirely preventable. Here are three easy ways to improve your heart’s health:
• Take an afternoon walk. Studies show that we need at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise a day to keep our heart in shape. And we walk faster in the afternoon because our muscles are warmer and more flexible. And that’s good, because picking up the pace strengthens our heart, while lowering levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and raising levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.
• Snack on nuts. They contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Along with compounds called plant sterols, which limit the amount of cholesterol our body absorbs. Just be careful. Nuts contain a lot of calories, so eating too many can really pack on the pounds. So, remember this: The recommended one-ounce serving of nuts fits in the palm of your hand. Or if you have giant NBA-player hands – use a Post-it for reference instead.
• Go to bed earlier. Experts say that getting less than 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night elevates our body’s stress response – which raises heart rate and blood pressure – while getting at least 7 hours a night helps drop our blood pressure down into healthy territory.