When it comes to steps to protect heart health, there are a few that everyone knows are beneficial. For the most part, every patient realizes that a healthy diet, exercise, and avoiding tobacco are important steps in keeping the heart strong and the cardiovascular system healthy. However, there are other, less obvious steps that can be taken every day to help as well. Here are just three that you may find surprising.
Pets do the Heart Good
Pet lovers can attest to the positive effects they can have on health and mood. These same benefits extend to the heart as well. Research has shown that owning a pet can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Additionally, the physical requirements of owning a pet such as a dog often means that pet owners maintain a higher level of overall physical activity, a crucial component in keeping the heart strong. Overall, dog owners have been shown to have a risk of heart-related fatality that is 36% lower than others. So, spend some extra time giving your pet affection or grab the leash and head out for a walk.
Laughter is Heart Medicine
Laughing doesn’t just elevate our mood and make us happy, it’s helping in other ways that are less obvious but just as important. For instance, while your pet may be lowering bad cholesterol, laughter may actually increase the levels of good cholesterol. At the same time, blood vessels are expanding, improving blood flow throughout the body and pain and inflammation is being reduced. A hearty laugh (or several) is often just what the doctor ordered for overall health and happiness.
Flossing Protects Against Gum and Heart Disease
Gum disease has effects that extend beyond the mouth. Research shows that the same inflammation and bacteria that attack the gums can make their way to the arteries as well. If the gums are unhealthy, the cardiovascular system is likely to be as well. Fortunately, the reverse of this is also true. Those with strong gum health often have healthy arteries as well. Therefore, it stands to reason that taking good care of gums will equate to a healthier heart. In order to protect against gum disease, dentists recommend daily flossing in addition to brushing twice per day.
Just like a healthy diet and exercise, these three steps can help protect not only your cardiovascular health but can promote overall wellbeing. Best of all, you are likely practicing some of them already! Of course, no matter how many positive steps you take, it is important to keep up with wellness screenings and to monitor heart health as recommended by your physician. To learn more or to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist, click the button below.