Heart health is a critical aspect of overall health and longevity.
In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide for both males and females, making it essential to adopt healthy habits to maintain a healthy heart. There is a growing body of scientific research that highlights the impact of lifestyle factors on heart health and longevity and provides evidence-based recommendations for improving heart health.
Here are 10 tips to improve heart health based on scientific research:
1. Exercise regularly
Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve heart health. A meta-analysis of published studies found that regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and stroke. We discuss the research behind exercise and human longevity in the NOVOS Longevity Lifestyle Webinar (Reference: Lee, I.-M., et al. (2012). Effect of physical inactivity on major non-communicable diseases worldwide: an analysis of burden of disease and life expectancy. The Lancet, 380(9838), 219-229.)
2. Eat a healthy diet
A diet that is rich in vegetables, mushrooms, legumes, omega-3 fats, lean protein, and essential nutrients, while being low in trans fats, added sugars, and excessive sodium has been linked to improved heart health. A review of published studies found that such a diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. To learn more about an ideal longevity diet, check out the NOVOS Longevity Diet (Reference: Dehghan, M., et al. (2017). Dietary healthy index and risk of cardiovascular disease: prospective cohort and meta-analysis of published studies. European Journal of Epidemiology, 32(1), 1-13.)
3. Quit smoking
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, and quitting smoking can greatly improve heart health. A large meta-analysis of published studies found that quitting smoking is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. (Reference: An, Z., et al. (2017). Effect of smoking cessation on cardiovascular disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(4), e005879.)
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight or obese can increase the risk of heart disease, and maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health. A review of published studies found that maintaining a healthy weight is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. This can be achieved by following points 1 and 2 above, as well as integrating fasting and time restricted feeding into your routine. (Reference: Mozaffarian, D., et al. (2016). Heart disease and stroke statistics—2016 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 133(4), e38-e360.)
5. Manage stress
Chronic stress has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and managing stress is important for heart health. A review of published studies found that stress-management techniques, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, and exercise, are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, multiple ingredients in NOVOS Core are found to improve calmness, including micro-dosed lithium, l-theanine, magnesium malate, and rhodiola rosea. (Reference: Epel, E. S., et al. (2015). Stress and cardiovascular disease. Nature Reviews Cardiology, 12(2), 129-138.)
6. Get enough sleep
Sleep is important for overall health and well-being, and getting enough sleep can improve heart health. A review of published studies found that getting enough sleep is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Check out our 50 Science-Based Tips To Sleep (Much) Better. (Reference: Patel, S. R., et al. (2015). Association between reduced sleep and weight gain: a systematic review. Sleep, 38(9), 1161-1171.)
7. Limit alcohol consumption
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and limiting alcohol intake is important for heart health. A review of published studies found that limiting alcohol consumption to moderate levels is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, and more recent studies have found that complete elimination of alcohol is best for healthspan and lifespan. (Reference: Rehm, J., et al. (2010). Alcohol as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis; Reference: Anderson et al. (2023). Health and cancer risks associated with low levels of alcohol consumption, The Lancet, 8(1), E6-E7)
8. Control blood pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease, and controlling blood pressure is important for heart health. A review of published studies found that lifestyle changes, such as regular physical activity, healthy eating, and maintaining a healthy weight, are associated with improved blood pressure control and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Additionally, increasing your potassium intake can improve blood pressure levels found in high sodium diets. (Reference: Chobanian, A. V., et al. (2003). The seventh report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure: the JNC 7 report. Journal of the American Medical Association, 289(19), 2560-2572.)
9. Monitor cholesterol levels
High cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart disease, and monitoring cholesterol levels is important for heart health. A review of published studies found that lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and regular physical activity, and medication if needed, are associated with improved cholesterol control and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Learn ways you can Lower Your Cholesterol Levels, The Science Based Way (Reference: Grundy, S. M., et al. (2004). Implications of recent clinical trials for the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines. Circulation, 110(2), 227-239.)
10. Seek regular medical check-ups
Regular medical check-ups can help detect and manage risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. These check-ups can also help monitor your overall heart health. A review of published studies found that regular medical check-ups are associated with improved risk factor management and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. (Reference: Anderson, R. M., et al. (2001). Cardiovascular disease risk factors present at younger ages. Circulation, 104(7), 851-855.)
Maintaining a healthy heart is critical for overall health and longevity. The tips outlined in this article, based on scientific research, can help you improve your heart health and reduce your risk of heart disease.
It is important to remember that individual needs vary and it is best to consult a healthcare professional to determine the best approach to improving heart health and longevity. By adopting healthy habits, such as regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular medical check-ups, you can take steps towards a healthier heart and a longer life.