puzzle-heart-1440815-1-mYour cardiovascular health relies on the proper functioning of your heart and circulatory system. The circulatory system, in case you didn’t know, is like the highway of your body. Its “roadways” allow blood and lymph circulation to transport nutrients, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, and blood cells where they need to go. The circulatory system is also responsible for helping to fight diseases, stabilize body temperature and pH, and to maintain homeostasis.

But, this amazing inner-expressway can only work if you take care of your body. So to help, we’ve outlined 6 ways you can improve your cardiovascular health right now:

Change Your Diet

Many of the things you eat may be inadvertently damaging to your cardiovascular system. To decrease your overall cholesterol and triglyceride (bad fat) level, try reducing your intake of foods that are high in sugar and fat. To increase the HDL (good cholesterol) in your body, increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables reduce inflammation and cleanse your system. Also, try incorporating fish into your diet. This amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids will reduce triglyceride levels in your blood, decrease blood pressure and reduce blood clots.

Exercise

Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. You do not need to be an all-star athlete to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system. Remember, something as simple as walking for 30 minutes every day can help to increase your blood circulation, build your heart’s strength and increase lung capacity.

Floss

Yep – flossing is good for your heart, too. You may not realize it, but the majority of your body’s health begins with your mouth. Flossing daily is crucial to your cardiovascular health because it eliminates inflammation-causing bacteria that can lead to heart disease.

Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’re missing out on hours of sleep, you may not only be grouchy, but your lack of sleep can increase your resting heart rate and blood pressure, as well as decrease your muscle nerve activity. Studies have even shown that people who have prolonged sleep deprivation have a 50% higher risk of stroke and heart disease.

Don’t Smoke

Smoking has several health detriments, including harm to your cardiovascular system. It increases heart rate, constricts major arteries, raises blood pressure, contributes to the development of plaque, and can create irregular heartbeat – just to name a few.

Relax

Stress from work or a hectic schedule can send you blood pressure skyrocketing. It’s important to remember to take time for yourself to relax. Breathing exercises, playing with your kids, or even snuggling with your family pet can promote relaxation and reduce your resting blood pressure and heart rate. These methods to de-stress can be very beneficial to your overall heart health.

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