Being born with a heart defect makes life challenging from the start. Congenital heart disease involves a heart defect such as a heart murmur or abnormal heart rhythm, due to an issue with the structure of the heart. As an individual gets older, this health condition makes it especially important to make your overall health a priority.
It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle as you age with CHD, and these easy lifestyle changes will allow you to live a full, active life!
1. Home-Cooked Meals Are Best
Although it may be a matter of convenience to eat out when you are busy, restaurant-cooked meals and fast food are usually filled with salt and saturated fats. This can lower your bad cholesterol and increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Cooking healthy meals at home with natural ingredients can greatly benefit your heart health and improve your overall wellness!
2. Reach For Whole-Grain Options
Refined grains—found in cereal, white rice, and white bread—contain very little fiber and can lead to the development of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Stick to whole grain foods to receive your daily dose of fiber and to keep your cholesterol in a healthy range.
The next lifestyle tip may have you putting down your favorite beverage!
3. Take It Easy On The Cocktails
Alcohol has been linked to increased blood pressure and even abnormal heart rhythms, making it vital to drink in moderation—if at all. Your favorite alcoholic cocktail may even mess with any heart medications you are taking, so be sure to speak with your doctor about the role of alcohol when it comes to your heart!
4. Go Easy On Your Salt Intake
Salt is known to hinder heart health. Decreasing the salty foods that you consume can lower your cholesterol, decrease your blood pressure, and help prevent heart attack and stroke. Those suffering from congenital heart disease can improve their heart health by making better choices when it comes to meals high in salt!
5. Turn On Some Tunes
The benefits of listening to music are plentiful, and listening to your favorite song may benefit the health of your heart. Listening to music can lower your heart rate and your blood pressure, and a smooth tempo is best when choosing what to enjoy.
The following lifestyle tip will impact every aspect of your life!
6. Kick Your Cigarette Habit To The Curb
The negative impact that smoking has on your body is monumental, and this habit is especially dangerous to those with congenital heart disease. Lighting up a smoke raises your blood pressure, disrupts your heart rate, and damages your body’s blood vessels.
Talk to your doctor about quitting to instantly improve the condition of your heart!
7. Indulge In Some Dark Chocolate
The consumption of dark chocolate is associated with lowering blood pressure, due to the antioxidant compounds called flavanols this savory candy contains. Enjoy but don’t overdo it—only consume a few small pieces a day to reap the heart benefits! Heart health never seemed so sweet—and your taste buds will thank you.
8. Be Wary Of Your Sugar Consumption
Diets high in sugar—especially added sugar—have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. Too much sugar could mean high blood pressure and higher levels of bad cholesterol, so it’s best to steer clear of foods loaded with the sweet stuff!
The following lifestyle change is a tasty way to protect your heart!
9. Drizzle Some Olive Oil On Your Meals
Olive oil has some serious heart-healthy benefits. It is filled with the antioxidant DHPEA-EDA, which protects red blood cells and help prevent heart disease or stroke. Don’t be afraid to cook or top your salad with some extra virgin olive oil—it’s the right choice when it comes to taking care of your heart health!
10. Put On Your Running Shoes
Partaking in a comfortable jog can greatly impact your cardiovascular health. Taking a short jog can increase the flexibility of the coronary arteries, which can get blood to the heart more efficiently. Even just 30 minutes a day of light jogging and walking can add up to heart health improvement—so don’t be afraid to get moving!
11. Plant Some Seeds For Heart Health
Any exercise at all is beneficial to your heart, no matter how leisurely it may seem. Tending to your garden can lower blood pressure while exercising your heart, which is a win-win! The next life tip will have you craving some seafood—and protecting your heart health in the process.
12. Increase Your Consumption Of Fish
Eating fish provides your body with a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acid, which can help to prevent heart disease—especially for those at risk. Fish also provides the protein you need to stay full and stay active, and it contains less saturated fat than other meats for increased heart health.
13. Get Zen To Heal Your Heart
The practice of yoga is linked to many physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Even going through a short sequence of poses regularly can improve your muscle strength and increase your balance, all while lowering your blood pressure. The following lifestyle tip will revolutionize your entire diet, and your cardiovascular health will greatly benefit!
14. Eat Clean With Fruits And Veggies
Consuming a more natural, clean diet can lower your cholesterol, improve your blood pressure, and put less pressure on your heart. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals, and try to avoid consuming fruit juice. Fruit juice is loaded with added sugar and calories, which is no good when improving your heart health!
15. Weight Training For Superb Heart Strength
Lifting light weights can help to strengthen your muscles and lose weight, which is beneficial to your cardiovascular system. Consult with your doctor about a feasible strength training problem if you suffer from congenital heart disease before starting a program. Start slow and be consistent, and watch your regimen improve your overall wellness!