Taking care of your heart is super important always but especially as you get older. Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body as it pumps all the blood around your body. When you don’t take care of your heart you are at risk for developing several diseases like coronary heart disease which can lead to myocardial infarction, heart failure, and even stroke.
It is always a good idea to eat healthy as a good way to take care of your heart. A diet in low saturated fat and high fiber intake is ideal for good heart health. Saturated fat is a type of fat found in processed foods or high fat foods that can increase your blood cholesterol levels which can lead to heart disease. Foods that are fried or even baked goods are very high in saturated fat. It is a good idea to limit the amount of saturated fat you intake daily by just looking at nutrition labels while grocery shopping. You can also replace these fats with unsaturated fats which are a lot healthier to eat. To know if you are intaking too much saturated fat and where you stand with your heart health getting your blood tests done yearly is very important. LDL found in blood is considered the “bad” cholesterol” which is because it carries cholesterol around the body which can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. HDL on the other hand is considered the “good” cholesterol as it takes the cholesterol away from the blood which is helpful to the heart. You always want to try to keep your LDL levels as low as possible and your HDL as high as possible. You can’t really affect the level of HDL in your blood with diet, but exercise may help increase HDL.
Heart disease usually begins with atherosclerosis which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries. This causes less blood to be able to flow through them which can cause a heart attack in the future. This can also cause a stroke if the plaque buildup is high, and a piece breaks off and travels through the body. Coronary heart disease is when the buildup of plaque is blocking the arteries and heart failure is when your heart can’t pump as efficiently as it used to so it can’t get the blood to the rest of your body. There are several risk factors that can make one more likely to get these diseases. Some risk factors are high LDL, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and more. Having more than one of these risk factors put you at a higher risk for developing heart disease. By eating a diet that is low saturated fat and high in fiber as well as exercising regularly you can decrease your chances of developing heart disease.