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How to strengthen your heart and reduce the risk of heart attack – Find out what is good for your heart and what harms it most!

To enjoy a lifetime of fitness and vitality, a strong, healthy heart is essential. But sometimes we don’t realize that mundane, everyday habits that have been with us for years, like eating processed foods, negatively affect our heart. How to strengthen the heart with simple, affordable ways?

The heart muscle and its role in the body

The heart is a critical organ that determines keeping the body alive. When the heart stops working, blood circulation is interrupted, resulting in loss of consciousness after a few seconds and loss of vital functions after a few minutes.

 graphic depicting the human heart

The heart is located in the mediastinum and is covered by a pericardial sac filled with fluid. It is the size of a clenched fist and weighs about 300 g. It begins its work in fetal life. It is made up of the heart’s striated muscle tissue and a network of blood vessels and nerves.

The heart muscle contracts about 100 times a day. Pumping about 6 liters of blood per minute, the heart muscle takes care of supplying every cell in the body with oxygen and nutrients.

The primary function of the heart is to pump blood into 2 blood circulations – the large (main) and small (pulmonary) circulations. Within the large bloodstream, the heart pumps blood supplied with oxygen and nutrients to all cells and tissues. Within the small bloodstream, the heart pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs, where it is oxygenated before returning to the heart.

In addition to pumping blood and supplying the body with essential substances, the heart also guards the efficient removal of unnecessary metabolic products from the bloodstream.

What are the most common heart diseases?

Like many other organs, the heart often succumbs to damage and conditions due to an unhealthy lifestyle. The negative impact on this organ is mainly due to excess stimulants and improper nutrition, but there are a few other factors that are equally detrimental.

The most common civilizational diseases of the cardiovascular system are:

  • hypertensive disease,
  • ischemic heart disease (coronary artery disease),
  • narrowing of the arteries,
  • atherosclerosis,
  • myocardial infarction,
  • stroke,
  • aneurysm,
  • cardiomyopathy.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart works so inefficiently that it is unable to provide the body with the right amount of oxygen and nutrients to function properly. Heart failure often occurs in the course of ischemic heart disease and hypertension, but can also be a consequence of other heart diseases. It is observed in about 1-2% of the population.

What leads to the weakening of the heart muscle? What does our heart dislike?

 woman holds on to her heart

Wanting to strengthen the heart and improve its performance, it is worth starting by eliminating factors that negatively affect the organ.

The main contributors to cardiovascular disease are such factors as:

  • overweight and obesity,
  • lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle,
  • high cholesterol levels,
  • frequent spikes in blood pressure,
  • unhealthy diet, including: too much intake of saturated fats and trans fats, not enough vegetables and fruits, too much processed food trimmed of valuable nutrients and antioxidants,
  • smoking,
  • alcohol abuse,
  • diabetes,
  • stress,
  • sleep disorders,
  • frequent exposure to polluted air.

Strong heart and efficient cardiovascular system – a recipe for good shape

In the prevention of heart disease, the most important thing is to establish healthy habits that will accompany us permanently. This mainly involves modifying our diet, increasing our activity level and normalizing our body weight. Long-term use of heart herbs and foods that benefit the heart muscle can be extremely valuable. Such long-term, comprehensive lifestyle changes are highly advisable and more effective than simply taking a drug treatment, conducting a short-term diet or limiting stimulants for a while.

Diet to strengthen the heart, products recommended for heart disease

 Heart-shaped cutting board, all around healthy foods

In order for the heart to function at full capacity and ensure impeccable blood circulation in both circuits, and for the blood vessels to be unobstructed, flexible, tight and strong, a proper diet is essential. The best results are given by dietary systems of the Mediterranean diet type and the DASH diet.

Above all, our menu should be well balanced, rich, varied, light and healthy. There should be no place in the menu for products that contribute to increased blood pressure and atherosclerotic plaque accumulation, buffer glucose-insulin metabolism, litter and acidify the body and promote weight gain.

In the diet for a healthy, strong heart, it is recommended to eat such products as:

  • vegetables,
  • fruits,
  • fish,
  • lean white meat,
  • lean cured meats,
  • lean dairy products (more fatty types of cheese should be limited),
  • whole grain products (whole grain bread, coarse cereals, brown rice, whole grain pasta),
  • cereals, bran,
  • legumes (e.g., beans, chickpeas, peas, lentils),
  • nuts,
  • grains and seeds,
  • herbs (e.g., parsley, basil, oregano, dill, cilantro),
  • vegetable oils.

While products to avoid are:

  • fatty meat,
  • red meat,
  • deep-fried dishes,
  • fast foods,
  • fatty cured meats,
  • highly processed cured meats (e.g., pates, canned foods, sausages),
  • fatty cream, fatty milk,
  • lard,
  • sweets,
  • prepared meals,
  • colored drinks,
  • white bread and confectionery,
  • salt (you can replace it with other spices).

In addition to introducing a healthy diet, it is worth giving up smoking cigarettes, and severely reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol.

Herbs for strengthening the heart and circulatory system

There are a number of medicinal plants that effectively support heart function, counteract hardening of the arteries, normalize blood pressure, improve blood flow and strengthen the walls of blood vessels, allowing the entire circulatory system to work better, more productively.

Recommendations include such herbal resources as:

  • hawthorn,
  • ginkgo biloba,
  • mistletoe,
  • bird’s-foot trefoil,
  • chestnut,
  • lily of the valley,
  • foxglove,
  • wild rose,
  • nettle.

Also check out Herbs for the heart

Home remedies to strengthen the heart

 Herbs and other healthy products lie on a heart-shaped cutting board

Stressful, busy lives, constant restlessness, little sleep and overwork are not conducive to heart health. When struggling for a strong, well-functioning heart, it is worthwhile, first of all, to learn to fight stress, calm down internally, slow down the pace of life a bit, carve out time every day for relaxation and make sure you get enough sleep. The following home remedies can also be helpful for the heart:

  • regularly hydrating the body (drinking plenty of mineral water and green tea),
  • adding olive oil and unrefined vegetable oils to a variety of cold dishes,
  • drinking flaxseed daily,
  • frequently adding parsley, ginger and garlic to dishes,
  • drinking water with the juice of half a lemon and a teaspoon of honey (twice a day),
  • drinking blender smoothies made with a base of green vegetables (e.g. spinach, broccoli, kale, celery).

Omega 3 acids – a natural way to improve heart and circulatory system function

Polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega 3 group are a healthy, beneficial type of fat. They do not cause an increase in bad cholesterol levels, as trans fats and saturated fats do, in fact, they help lower them. At the same time, they help raise the level of good cholesterol in the blood. They strengthen the heart muscle, promote tissue regeneration and benefit immunity. They are also very valuable for our brain.

We can findomega 3 acids primarily in:

  • vegetable oils,
  • seeds (e.g. in flaxseed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds),
  • nuts,
  • sea fish,
  • seafood,
  • tran,
  • avocados.

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Vitamins and minerals to strengthen the heart and improve its function

When looking for ways to strengthen your heart, look for supplements and foods rich in such vitamins and macro- and micronutrients as:

  • B vitamins,
  • vitamin A,
  • vitamin E,
  • vitamin K,
  • vitamin C,
  • potassium,
  • silicon,
  • zinc,
  • selenium,
  • calcium,
  • magnesium.

How to strengthen the heart after a heart attack and in coronary artery disease?

 The doctor holds up a replica of the heart

You should categorically stop smoking cigarettes (also avoid second-hand smoke), eliminate LDL cholesterol-raising products from your diet and follow a Mediterranean-type diet. Using heart herbs and anti-stress techniques to reduce excessive nervous system activity, normalize heart rate and reduce the risk of cardiac ischemia will also work. Let’s also remember to hydrate the body, get a good night’s sleep, and avoid great physical exertion, stress and situations that make us nervous.

How to strengthen the heart with arrhythmia?

In order to normalize the heart rhythm in arrhythmia, it is recommended to introduce into the diet increased amounts of products containing magnesium and potassium, minerals that play a key role in regulating the heart rhythm. It is also advisable to reach for dietary supplements containing these ingredients. In addition, B vitamins, herbs with a normalizing effect on the heart, herbs with a relaxing and calming effect will be helpful. It is also worthwhile to increase the amount of daily exercise, perform breathing exercises, reduce the amount of salt in the diet and eliminate stimulants.

Physical activity a patent for a healthy heart

Sedentary lifestyles and inactivity are associated with a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, circulatory problems and a whole range of systemic diseases. According to data presented by the European Society of Cardiology, increasing the level of physical activity after a heart attack reduces the risk of death by as much as half (within 4 years of the heart attack episode).

When we engage in physical activity, we force our muscles to work. Blood starts circulating faster, both the strength of the heart muscle contraction and the number of contractions per minute increase. Such increased activity of the heart is very beneficial. This is because it has the effect of strengthening the heart muscle and increasing its total exercise capacity.

With moderate, systematic physical activity, the heart contracts and diastoles more frequently and intensively, pumps blood more efficiently and ejects more blood into the main artery, or aorta, taking care of better blood supply to the entire body. Recommended is min. 30 minutes of moderate activity, about 3-4 times a week. This can be jogging, swimming, brisk walking, stationary bike training or any other form of exercise.

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Category: Health

Article by: admin