You can’t survive without a heart. It’s undoubtedly the most vital organ in your body. Therefore, to ensure it’s in tip-top condition, you try to exercise regularly, eat a heart-healthy diet and avoid smoking.
But, is this enough? Unfortunately, not! There are a number of other habits that can cause heart problems. Here are five of them.
1. Watching too much television
If you sit for hours on end binge watching television, you increase your risk of stroke and heart attack irregardless of the times per week you exercise. How, you ask? Well, the lack of movement of long periods negatively affects the levels of sugar and fat in your blood levels.
2. Eating too many salty foods
The more salt you consume, the higher your blood pressure rises. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, kidney failure, and heart attack. So, read the labels for sodium content and avoid packaged junk food.
3. Not flossing your teeth
Believe it or not, there’s a strong link between gum disease and heart problems such as heart disease. That’s because the same bacteria that triggers gum disease may enter your bloodstream and lead to inflammation.
4. Not eating enough fruits and vegetables
According to research, people who eat more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day have a 20% lower risk of stroke and heart disease compared with those who eat less than three servings of fresh produce per day – so make sure you sneak extra servings into as many meals as you can!
5. Drinking too much alcohol
While studies have shown the heart health benefits of red wine, drinking too much alcohol can increase your risk of high blood pressure, high levels of blood fats and heart failure! Men shouldn’t exceed more than two drinks a day, while women shouldn’t exceed one. One drink is equal to one beer or one glass of wine.
6. Eating empty calories
Foods that are high in fat, sugar and oil deliver calories, but very few nutrients your body can use. In fact, studies have shown that a diet full of empty calories increases the risk of obesity and diabetes. Therefore, look for nutrient dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, seafood, beans and peas, and unsalted nuts and seeds. Lean meats and poultry, along with fat-free and low-fat milk, are good choices as well.