Let’s explore the meaning behind a healthy heart and the benefits of keeping it in great shape.

If you look up the definition heart-healthy, it tells us it is “foods which are low in sodium, fats and other ingredients which may foster heart disease”. But is the key to a healthy heart purely down to the foods you eat?

How a healthy heart works

Your heart is a powerful muscle, continuously pumping blood throughout the body. It consists of four chambers, a wall of tissue known as the septum, and four valves. When working properly, blood flows from the body to the heart, then to the lungs, and back to the body in a long continuous cycle.

Problems occur when any of the heart’s structure becomes damaged or fails in any way. A healthy resting heartbeat in an adult, ranges from 60-100 beats per minute. If you have a lower heart rate, that’s considered a sign of a more efficient and healthier cardiovascular system.

A heart that is healthy is better able to cope with the stresses and strains of daily life and can literally help to ensure you live longer.

The benefits of a healthy heart

So, now you know how a healthy heart works, let’s take a look at what having a healthy heart means. The benefits you can expect if you take care of your heart include:

More effective bodily function – When the heart is healthy, it ensures the body functions effectively. This means you’ll be able to carry out even strenuous daily tasks with ease. If the heart isn’t healthy, you’ll find even simple activities much more difficult to do.

It can repair itself – Perhaps the most fascinating thing about a healthy heart is the fact it has the ability to heal itself. So, if it does become damaged due to heart disease or other illnesses, provided it’s been well taken care of, it will be able to repair the damage naturally.

You’ll feel healthier – Of course, one of the main benefits is the fact you’ll feel healthier. As a healthy heart doesn’t need to beat as often or as strenuously as an unhealthy heart, you’ll feel much better generally and also feel much more relaxed.

These are just a small selection of the benefits. The main one, as mentioned earlier, is the fact you’ll live a longer, healthier life. That in itself is enough of a reason to start taking better care of your heart.

What makes a heart healthy?

Now we’ve established how a healthy heart works and the benefits it delivers, what do you need to do to boost your heart health?

Getting plenty of exercise and making sure you’re eating properly are the first things you need to focus on. When exercising, it’s best to do an activity that leaves you breathless. This helps to strengthen the heart, as well as the lungs, and boost blood flow. Eating a diet that’s low in trans-fat and high in fiber, is also recommended.

It’s also important to manage your blood pressure. High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of heart disease. The trouble is, you can’t feel it if you do have it. Therefore, you’ll need to get it measured regularly by the doctor to ensure it’s low enough and seek treatment if it’s too high.

Interestingly, heart disease is also linked to depression and social isolation. Therefore, it’s really important to spend ample time with friends and family. If you think you are suffering from depression, it’s important to seek treatment from a doctor as soon as you can.

While heart disease cannot always be prevented, making sure you take good care of your heart can lower your chances of developing it significantly.

February is National Heart Month. Check out some of the tips on keeping your heart in great shape on the CDC Website.

A healthy heart really is essential if you want to live a long and happy life.

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