The choices we make throughout the day can significantly affect our heart health. And no one knows that truth better than the heart doctors at Middle Georgia Heart. We see firsthand how even small decisions can impact the heart and the body as a whole.
Discover four healthy habits that our cardiologists not only promote, but also incorporate into their daily lives.
Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet
Our heart doctors know that there is no better way to help your body out than by feeding it clean, healthy, nutritious foods on a regular basis. The healthier your diet is, the healthier your body will be, which directly impacts your heart health, too!
Why Does Diet Matter for a Healthy Heart?
The standard heart pumps at a steady rate to receive and feed blood throughout the body. Diet-related issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol force the heart to work harder to keep up with production, causing it to wear out much faster than it should.
A diet that is high in salt, sugars, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol can quickly lead to high cholesterol, high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and other conditions that threaten the heart and its ability to function correctly.
What Does My Heart Doctor’s Diet Look Like?
While it can be challenging to always eat low-sodium, low-sugar, low-fat meals, the cardiologists at Middle Georgia Heart stick to a balanced diet that includes many vegetables, fruits, nuts, and lean meats. Our doctors aim to reduce their consumption of fried foods, high-fat dairy products, sugary treats, or processed, fatty meats.
To get the most out of your diet, avoid harmful foods as much as possible and add in:
- Sweet Potatoes
Monosaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
- Nuts and nut butters
- Olive oil
- Seeds and seed butters
An active body is a happy body. We understand that some patients cannot participate in rigorous exercise routines or may even have difficulty maintaining a walking schedule. But even 150 minutes of light to moderate activity each week benefits the heart. (That’s a little more than 20 minutes a day.)
Why Does Staying Active Matter for a Healthy Heart?
Along with weight loss or weight management, movement and physical activity keep the components of your body in shape—it allows muscles to stay strong and functional, promotes healthy blood flow, keeps your bones strong, and helps improve flexibility. Without movement, your body and organs — including your heart — begin to atrophy or lose strength and functionality. And when your body atrophies, your heart and other organs work harder to maintain proper function and wear out faster.
Sticking to an activity routine can help your body stay strong and your heart stay healthy.
What Does My Heart Doctor’s Activity Look Like?
The cardiologists at Middle Georgia Heart enjoy all sorts of physical activities to keep their heart, mind, and body healthy. You can catch them taking walks, going on runs, spending time in the gym, enjoying a round of golf, working in their yards, and so much more.
To stay active or improve your physical health, try:
- Participating in a sport or group activity
- Cycling on a stationary bike
- Lifting weights
- Swimming or water aerobics
- Taking a yoga class
It might surprise you that your sleeping habits impact your heart health, but they do. The goal is to get eight full hours of sleep each night, give or take one hour, and to maintain a routine sleep schedule for the sake of your body’s rhythm and schedule.
Why Does Sleeping Matter for a Healthy Heart?
Sleeping is your body’s opportunity to recharge and reenergize itself. The body uses this downtime to restore itself. If you’re sick or injured, the processes that occur during sleep help speed repairs and recovery. If you’re not sick or injured, sleep is still the time for your organs to regain the nutrients and proteins needed for the next day.
By depriving yourself of sleep, even just a little, your body cannot complete the beneficial and necessary processes to recharge, restore, and recover. As a result, you are more susceptible to heart-affecting issues like high blood pressure, weight gain, development of type 2 diabetes, and even heart disease.
What Does My Heart Doctor’s Sleep Schedule Look Like?
The cardiologists at Middle Georgia Heart maintain a healthy sleep schedule that allows them to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Doing so allows them to keep their bodies in good health, and it helps their brains stay sharp as they care for their patients throughout the day.
If you need to improve your sleep schedule, try these tips:
- Set a bedtime that allows you to get at least 8 hours of sleep, and stick to it.
- Keep your bedroom as dark and as quiet as possible.
- Avoid screens at least 30 minutes before your bedtime,
- Keep electronics like TVs and computers out of the bedroom.
- Set your smartphone across the room to avoid checking it before bed.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or large meals before bed.
Avoiding tobacco products or quitting tobacco use is one of the healthiest things you can do for your heart and body. If you have never started a tobacco habit, don’t! If you struggle to put down the cigarette or chewing tobacco, your team at Middle Georgia Heart encourages you to stop as soon as you can.
Why Does Not Using Tobacco Matter for a Healthy Heart?
The smoke and nicotine found in cigarettes, cigars, vape products, or chewing tobacco do so much damage to the heart, arteries, and lungs, and they put users at significant risk of developing heart disease, vascular disease, blood clots, and aneurysms. In fact, did you know smoking and smokeless tobacco is the leading cause of preventable diseases in the US? People who were never on track to develop heart problems or heart-affecting complications can quickly develop them thanks to a tobacco habit.
Long-time smokers or tobacco users may think that it’s too late to stop because the damage has already been done, but that is not entirely the case. Habitual smokers or those who have chewed tobacco for years see immense improvement after quitting:
- Within one year of quitting, patients have seen a significant reduction in heart attack risks.
- Within five years of quitting, patients have seen their risk levels of stroke reduced to almost zero.
If you are struggling to quit your tobacco use, check out these resources:
Your heart will thank you.
Want to Learn More About a Heart Doctor’s Heart-Healthy Habits? Talk to the Cardiologists at Middle Georgia Heart.
Ready to Put Your Heart in the Right Hands? Schedule Your Appointment with the Heart Doctors of Middle Georgia Heart.
Our cardiologists offer beneficial advice and tips for maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle at home. And if you do experience heart issues or develop cardiovascular complications, we have the treatments and services you need to improve function and get your heart back on a healthy track. Discover more from our team by scheduling an appointment with our practice today: 478-207-5224