February 6, 2019
Did you know that your heart beats roughly 100,000 times and sends 2,000 gallons of blood throughout your body every day?
That’s kind of insane.
Your heart is only the size of your fist, yet it is responsible for pushing blood through 60,000 miles of blood vessels! Obviously, your heart is designed for such a hefty job, but only if it – and you – are healthy.
February is National Heart Health Month, and everyone needs a healthy heart. Unfortunately, the last several decades in the United States have shown a steady increase in unhealthy hearts. In fact, the Heart Association recently reported that nearly HALF of all American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease. That’s 121 million adults!
This new statistic came from the 2017 change that redefined hypertension (one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease) as a blood pressure of 130/80 instead of 140/90. This change meant that millions of Americans were added to the count of those who have some form of cardiovascular disease.
Why the change? Well, according to Dr. Ivor J. Benjamin of the Cardiovascular Center at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, high blood pressure is one of “the most common and dangerous risk factors for heart disease and stroke”, and we cannot dismiss the “overwhelming presence of high blood pressure…in our fight against cardiovascular disease.”
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and with high blood pressure as one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease, it only makes sense that we focus on lowering the nation’s overall blood pressure. One way to do that is to lower the blood pressure readings for what qualifies as a risk to heart disease, just as the Heart Association did.
On a more personal level, however, there are so many other things we can do to keep our blood pressure normal and our hearts healthy.
Keeping your heart healthy and your blood pressure normal can drastically lower your risk of developing heart disease. To do that, try incorporating these tips into your life:
Know Your Blood Pressure, and Know Your Numbers
Before you can know whether or not you have high blood pressure, you need to know what your blood pressure is. You can do this by visiting with your doctor or checking your blood pressure at home. Once you know your blood pressure numbers, it’s time to interpret them. Your doctor can talk with you about your blood pressure numbers, or you can use this chart as a guide.
Eat A Well-Balanced Diet*
Eating healthy is good for your blood pressure, which is in turn good for your heart. Aim to eat a diet that is high in natural and healthy foods, such as fruits and veggies, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, proteins, and fish. A good diet also includes limiting the ‘bad’ foods, like those that are high in saturated fats, sodium, and trans fat. You should also limit the amount of sugar you consume (both sweets and sweetened drinks) and red meat.
Get Regular Exercise
Exercising regularly does more than just control high blood pressure. It also helps you maintain a healthy weight, lower stress levels, and strengthen your heart. Together, these benefits make it so that your heart doesn’t have to work harder than normal.
In today’s world, our lifestyle is becoming more and more sedentary, which means it may take greater effort and discipline to get moving. But even moderately intense exercise, like a brisk walk, can be enough when you do it regularly.
If you need some help getting motivated to exercise, we recommend trying our Tohi Burst Natural Energy Supplement! Burst is full of natural energy sources that give you a boost of energy and focus, making it easy to get up and get moving. Plus, Burst supports healthy weight loss, which can also help lower your blood pressure.
It’s important to note that being inactive doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have heart disease. But, regular exercise does greatly lower your risk of developing any problems in the first place. We understand that everyone enjoys different workouts, has busy schedules, and may be limited in what they can do for exercise. Just find something that you enjoy doing, and that you can do for about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Be sure to also include stretching and muscle-strengthening exercises!
Limit Alcohol and Smoking
Drinking too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure, which can then increase your chances of heart disease. By limiting your alcohol consumption to no more than one or two drinks a day, or by completely removing alcohol from your diet, you can help keep your blood pressure down and your heart working properly.
Smoking is a proven factor to both stroke and heart disease, but did you know that 80% of cardiovascular disease can be prevented by simply not smoking and controlling your blood pressure? Smoking and breathing in secondhand smoke produces plaque buildup in the heart arteries, which can make it difficult for blood to pass through. High blood pressure also accelerates plaque buildup, and every smoke you have creates a temporary increase in blood pressure. In short, cut smoking out of our life, or at least limit how much you smoke to reduce your chances of heart disease.
Manage Your Stress
We all know that stress isn’t good, but did you know that stress has been known to increase your blood pressure? This is a link that many doctors are still studying, but we know that stress can contribute to an unhealthy diet and excessive alcohol consumption, both of which we know for sure contribute to high blood pressure. Stress also releases the “fight or flight” hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, which makes your heart beat faster and work harder than normal. This response also causes the blood vessels in your body to become constricted, which makes it difficult for blood to flow throughout the body.
Faster heart rates and constricted blood vessels both can cause high blood pressure and increase your chances of developing heart disease. Help lower your risk by managing your stress levels. You can do this by talking with others about your stress, exercising, managing your time and projects, learning to say ‘no’, relaxing, and more.
Quick Tip: Using essential oils is a great way to help your mind and body relax in a natural way. Try diffusing essential oils or applying them topically for a quick and effective way to relax. Some of our favorite relaxation oils include Lavender, At Peace, Tranquility, and Vetiver.
With cardiovascular disease becoming increasingly common, it is essential that we do our best to take control of our health and manage the risk factors we can control, including high blood pressure. By working with your doctor and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can show your heart some extra love and increase your chances of living a healthier life. In return, your heart is sure to help you experience greater overall quality of life, which is bound to make anyone happier!
* Diet recommendations were referenced from the American Heart Association.
“Changes You Can Make to Manage High Blood Pressure.” American Heart Association. 30 November 2017. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure
Charles, Shamard M.D. “Almost half of Americans have heart or blood vessel disease, new report finds.” NBC News. 31 January 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/health/heart-health/nearly-half-americans-have-heart-or-blood-vessel-disease-new-n965421
“Getting Active to Control High Blood Pressure.” American Heart Association. 31 October 2016. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/getting-active-to-control-high-blood-pressure
“Limiting Alcohol to Manage Blood Pressure.” American Heart Association. 31 October 2016. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/limiting-alcohol-to-manage-high-blood-pressure
“Managing Blood Pressure with a Heart-Healthy Diet.” American Heart Association. 31 October 2016. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/managing-blood-pressure-with-a-heart-healthy-diet
“Managing Stress to Control High Blood Pressure.” American Heart Association. 31 October 2016. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/managing-stress-to-control-high-blood-pressure
“Smoking, High Blood Pressure and Your Health.” American Heart Association. 31 October 2016. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/smoking-high-blood-pressure-and-your-health
Watson, Stephanie. “Amazing Facts About Heart Health and Heart Disease.” WebMD. 2 July 2009. https://www.webmd.com/heart/features/amazing-facts-about-heart-health-and-heart-disease_#1