Physical Activity and Your Heart | NHLBI, NIH

physical activity is one share of a heart healthy life style. A healthy life style besides involves following heart-healthy corrode, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking .

Heart-Healthy Eating

heart-healthy eat is an important part of a heart-healthy life style. Your sophisticate may recommend heart-healthy eat, which should include :

  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and trout, about twice a week
  • Fruits, such as apples, bananas, oranges, pears, and prunes
  • Legumes, such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, and lima beans
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and carrots
  • Whole grains, such as oatmeal, brown rice, and corn tortillas

When following a heart-healthy diet, you should avoid eat :

  • A lot of red meat
  • Palm and coconut oils
  • Sugary foods and beverages

Two nutrients in your diet make rake cholesterol levels rise :

  • Saturated fatfound mostly in foods that come from animals
  • Trans fat (trans fatty acids)found in foods made with hydrogenated oils and fats, such as stick margarine; baked goods, such as cookies, cakes, and pies; crackers; frostings; and coffee creamers. Some trans fats also occur naturally in animal fats and meats.

Saturated fatness raises your blood cholesterol more than anything else in your diet. When you follow a heart-healthy corrode design, only 5 percentage to 6 percentage of your daily calories should come from saturated fatten. Food labels list the amounts of saturated fatty. To help you stay on track, here are some examples :

 If you eat:  Try to eat no more than:
1,200 calories a day 8 grams of saturated fatty a day
1,500 calories a day 10 grams of saturated adipose tissue a day
1,800 calories a day 12 grams of saturated fat a day
2,000 calories a day 13 grams of impregnate adipose tissue a day
2,500 calories a day 17 grams of impregnate fatness a sidereal day

not all fats are bad. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats actually help lower blood cholesterol levels. Some sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are :

  • Avocados
  • Corn, sunflower, and soybean oils
  • Nuts and seeds, such as walnuts
  • Olive, canola, peanut, safflower, and sesame oils
  • Peanut butter
  • Salmon and trout
  • Tofu


You should try to limit the measure of sodium that you eat. This means choose and preparing foods that are lower in salt and sodium. Try to use low-sodium and “ no lend salt ” foods and seasonings at the board or while cooking. Food labels tell you what you need to know about choosing foods that are lower in sodium. Try to eat no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. If you have high blood blackmail, you may need to restrict your sodium intake even more .

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension

Your repair may recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ( DASH ) eat plan if you have high rake coerce. The DASH eat plan focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and early foods that are center goodly and depleted in fatness, cholesterol, and sodium and salt .
The DASH feed plan is a full heart-healthy eat design, even for those who don ’ t have gamey blood pressure. Read more about DASH .

Limiting Alcohol

Try to limit alcohol intake. excessively much alcohol can raise your lineage imperativeness and triglyceride levels, a character of fatness found in the rake. Alcohol besides adds supernumerary calories, which may cause weight gain .
world should have no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day. Women should have no more than one drink containing alcohol a day. One toast is :

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1½ ounces of liquor

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a goodly weight is crucial for overall health and can lower your gamble for coronary heart disease. Aim for a Healthy Weight by following a heart-healthy corrode design and keeping physically active .
Knowing your body mass index ( BMI ) helps you find out if you ’ re a healthy weight in relation to your height and gives an estimate of your total body adipose tissue. To figure out your BMI, check out the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ’ mho ( NHLBI ) online BMI calculator or talk to your health concern provider. A body mass index :

  • Below 18.5 is a sign that you are underweight.
  • Between 18.5 and 24.9 is in the healthy range.
  • Between 25 and 29.9 is considered overweight.
  • Of 30 or more is considered obese.

A general goal to aim for is a BMI below 25. Your health worry provider can help you set an allow BMI goal .
Measuring waist circumference helps screen for potential health risks. If most of your fatness is around your waist preferably than at your hips, you ’ re at a higher risk for kernel disease and type 2 diabetes. This risk may be high with a waist size that is greater than 35 inches for women or greater than 40 inches for men. To learn how to measure your waist, chew the fat Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk .
If you ’ ra corpulence or corpulent, try to lose weight unit. A loss of merely 3 percentage to 5 percentage of your current weight unit can lower your triglycerides, blood glucose, and the gamble of developing type 2 diabetes. Greater amounts of weight loss can improve blood atmospheric pressure readings, lower LDL cholesterol, and increase HDL cholesterol .

Quitting Smoking

People who smoke are more likely to have a heart attack than are people who don ’ thyroxine pot. The risk of having a heart attack increases with the count of cigarettes smoke each day. Smoking besides raises your risk for stroke and lung diseases, such as chronic clogging pneumonic disease ( COPD ) and lung cancer.

Quitting fume can greatly reduce your hazard for heart and lung diseases. Ask your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit. besides, try to avoid secondhand fume .
If you have trouble quitting smoking on your own, consider joining a support group. many hospitals, workplaces, and community groups offer classes to help people quit smoke .
Read more about how to quit fume .

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