The human heart may not be the largest organ in the body but it probably is the most important. The heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body via the circulatory system, and it supplies oxygen and nutrients to the tissues; it also removes carbon dioxide and other waste products.
Dr. Lawrence Phillips, cardiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York said that, “The tissues of the body need a constant supply of nutrition in order to be active’ and if the heart is not able to supply blood into the organs and tissues, they will die.”
Why should you take care of your heart?
The heart being the center of the cardiovascular system is responsible for about just everything that gives your body life. That’s why the Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:23 (HCSB) to “Guard your heart above all else for it is the source of life.”
The heart is what keeps a person alive because when it fails to perform its normal functions, either the person becomes brain-dead or he dies. Either way, a person whose heart isn’t functioning does not exhibit any form of life.
How do you keep your heart healthy?
1) Be physically active every day.
You don’t have to go to the gym and exercise doesn’t have to be formal. You can just simply integrate your movement and motion into your routine activities. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator and if it’s feasible, walk to work. If your job requires you to sit in front of the computer for the rest of the day, you can get up every 5-10 minutes to interrupt bouts of sitting.
The more active you are, the stronger and healthier your heart will be.
2) Get enough sleep.
Sleep is essential for a healthy heart. Several recent studies showed that shortened sleep duration, that is, less than 6 hours of sleep, could result to increased risk of heart disease, regardless of your age, weight, smoking and exercise habits.
So how much sleep is the right amount? It varies from person to person, but most people need six to eight hours of sleep each day.
3) Cut down on your salt intake and increase your consumption of anti-oxidant rich foods.
Too much sodium in your system causes your body to retain water, thereby putting an extra burden on your heart and blood vessels which leads to an increased blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are at a higher risk of developing heart disease or have a stroke.
Antioxidants are naturally occurring molecules which fight against the action of free radicals to help prevent heart disease and cancer. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains and high fiber foods as they are a great source of antioxidants.
4) Don’t smoke.
Smoking causes a narrowing of the arteries and potential damage to the inner lining of blood vessels which in turn hardens the arteries. When the arteries harden due to a plague build up called atherosclerosis, the blood supply to the heart is cut off resulting to a heart attack.
Passive smokers are also at risk of developing heart disease because breathing in second-hand smoke damages your arteries.
5) Laugh more.
It may be actually true that “laughter is the best medicine.” While exercise and a balanced diet are great for the heart, laughter is just as important. Laughter keeps the heart healthy by improving the function of the blood vessels and increasing blood flow, which helps to protect you against heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
*** Because the heart is busy working all the time and never gets a break, it’s very important that we take really good care of it. We need to determine what types of things are healthy for the heart and what will make it stronger in order to continue doing its job.
There a lot more ways to take good care of the heart. Even small changes in your habits can help improve your heart. However, just following the above recommendations will keep your heart healthy.
When you take care of your heart, you take care of your health. And why should you take care of your health? Because “health is wealth!”