Although February, which is American Heart Month, is almost over, it’s important to always be conscious of the activities, food and beverages that actively weaken your heart. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for approximately 1-in-4 deaths every calendar year.

While aging will naturally weaken your heart, there are a number of activities that will delay this process and allow you to live a healthy life with a strong heart for many years.

Quit Smoking

Smoking doesn’t just increase your chances of developing throat or lung cancer; smoking actually narrows the arteries and causes a fatty material called atheroma to accumulate, which, over time, can cause a heart attack or stroke.

While quitting isn’t a walk in the park, the process can be simplified by avoiding triggers that go hand-in-hand with your smoking. Certain triggers may include drinking alcohol, coffee or staying up late. If you can pinpoint and avoid the activities that you heavily associate with your smoking, quitting suddenly becomes much easier.

Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption

Even though studies always assert that a glass of wine a night may be beneficial to your health, for many, stopping at one glass can be a tall order. Alcohol increases your blood pressure and typically has high-calorie counts, especially wine and beer. Save alcohol for the weekends and avoid consuming too much, as that will present a whole new set of issues, not to mention the hundreds and hundreds of empty calories.

Save Red Meat for Special Occasions

While a cut of filet mignon may be one of the most savory delicacies in this world, it, along with any kind of red meat, has a very direct and negative impact on the heart. When you consume red meat, it causes a nutrient called caritine to set off a chain reaction in your stomach that has been linked to heart disease. Therefore, make steak a celebratory meal, reserved for special occasions. Instead, get your protein fix from healthier foods such as chicken or salmon.

Exercise Daily

Exercising vigorously is great, but for many, can be intimidating. Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to be intense, as you can get your workout in during your busy schedule by completing easy tasks such as biking to work instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of riding the elevator. Also, exercise will also make it easier for you to fall asleep earlier and getting a longer sleep, which can also be linked to having a healthy heart.

Visit the Doctor

Perhaps the best thing you can do to begin working on improving your heart’s health is to see a doctor. Here at AFC Urgent Care Paramus, we can measure your cholesterol and blood pressure to help provide you with the information necessary to know how your heart’s doing. Our board-certified physicians can additionally assist with providing you with advice and tips to help improve your long-term health.

For more information, call us at 201.564.4058. Feel free to also access our urgent care services on a walk-in basis. We look forward to helping you maximize your heart’s potential!