Most people know that too many artery-clogging foods and too little exercise will increase your risk of heart disease over time, but lesser-known lifestyle factors can also have an impact on heart health.
Up to 15 percent of Americans get the flu each year, but many don’t know that this common illness can do more than sideline you with uncomfortable aches and pains. Research suggests that within the first few days following diagnosis, the flu can actually trigger a heart attack or stroke. To protect your heart against infection-induced stress, make sure to get your flu vaccination every year.
Are you cool as a cucumber, or do you explode over a sudden traffic jam? How you handle stress may affect your heart. Stress may cause inflammation, which may lead to high blood pressure and lower HDL, the “good” cholesterol. Indirectly, chronic stress may cause worrying, which may lead to lack of sleep, less exercise, and poor food choices—all of which put your heart at greater risk. Turn your worries into positive energy. Get involved in physical activity to get your mind off your problems and clear your head.
Too little sleep may raise your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. A recent study of adolescents showed that those who didn’t sleep well had higher cholesterol levels, a higher body mass index, and higher blood pressure. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Find ways to get a better night’s sleep by following a few simple tips such as sticking to a sleep schedule and getting regular exercise.
Loneliness may cause more than heartache; it may actually hurt your heart. A recent study shows that people who experience social isolation are at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke, suggesting that loneliness is just as harmful as high stress and anxiety. If you’re feeling lonely, try reaching out to friends and family, volunteering, or joining a local adult sports league. Your heart works around the clock to keep your body healthy. Take care of it. Be aware of what makes it tick and what may cause it harm.
Experts agree: food sources are best for meeting your basic, daily dietary requirements—but when you have health conditions that require an extra serving of nutritional protection, look to dietary supplements. Rich in vitamins and minerals, they can go to work for your whole body and give your heart a major boost.
Fish oil is swimming with Omega-3s: essential fatty acids that help maintain total-body health. Fish oil also offers significant benefits for protecting the health of your heart. The Omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil help lower triglycerides, fight plaque buildup in your arteries, and lower your blood pressure.
A main component of turmeric—a spice commonly found in curry powder—may help reduce your total cholesterol. Studies show that taking turmeric by mouth twice daily for three months may reduce your total cholesterol, bad (LDL) cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Magnesium is naturally found in heart-healthy foods like whole grains and leafy greens. Adding a magnesium supplement to your diet may help lower your blood pressure.
This flowering herb extract may help lower bad cholesterol, decreasing your risk of heart disease. People living with diabetes are most likely to gain improved health from taking milk thistle
Food—and its many nutrients—is, indeed, life. Make a healthy plate your top priority, but consider adding supplements to support your special health needs.
Dietary fiber keeps things moving in more ways than you might realize. Yes, it helps with digestion and reduces constipation—but, as it travels through your body, it also tends to push a lot of troublemakers to the exit doors, including “bad” cholesterol and blood sugar. As a result, adequate fiber in your diet may help lower your heart disease and diabetes risks.
The Mayo Clinic advises women to get at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day, and men to aim for 30 to 38. As with all nutrients, natural foods are the best source of fiber. When life gets crazy, though, it’s challenging to prepare fresh veggies and legumes with much regularity. Consider these options for fitting in fiber on your busiest days.
Talk to your doctor to determine if a fiber supplement is right for you. They may recommend:
When your health, diet, and activity levels are humming along in sync you may be able to meet your nutritional needs through food alone. Many of us need adjustments, however, when our habits or health go through changes.
Prolonged exercise can use up your body’s stores of water and electrolytes, leading to cramps or more serious signs of dehydration. To replace the fluids and the essential minerals you lose when you sweat, reach for water or a sports drink.
A good workout taps your body’s stored sugar and fats for energy, causing your blood sugar to drop temporarily. If you have diabetes, you’re at increased risk of dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during this recovery period. Check your blood sugar before and after exercise and add extra carbs as needed, according to your doctor’s guidance.
Long-term alcohol use can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Low levels of vitamin B are a particular concern if your alcohol intake exceeds “moderate drinking.” Vitamin B1 deficiencies can also lead to permanent nerve and brain problems. Work with your doctor to make a plan for reducing your alcohol use. As you adjust to a lower intake, taking Vitamin B1 (thiamine) supplements can help your body adjust.
Regular use of caffeine can block the body’s absorption of calcium, leading to thinning bones—especially in women. Regular, weight-bearing exercise is key to fighting bone loss, along with at least 1,000 mg of calcium and 400 IU vitamin D every day. Ask your doctor for guidance on your daily dosage.
Your need for dietary supplements is as unique as you are. Talk to your doctor or Rite Aid pharmacist before you start or change any supplement regimen.
At Rite Aid, we have the products you need to manage your weight, stay strong, and keep yourself on track—from protein shakes and fitness equipment to heart rate monitors.
Research shows that high levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as "good" cholesterol, can protect you against heart disease, heart attacks, and diabetes. HDL acts as an industrial vacuum by cleaning up low-density lipoprotein (LDL), known as "bad" cholesterol, and transporting it back to the liver where it is broken down and passed out of the body. Learn about five lifestyle factors that can help boost your HDL levels.Read More
You might not be able to turn back the clock, but eating a diet rich in nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids can help you stay healthy as you age. Read on to learn about some of the best foods for healthy aging that will help keep your heart, body, and mind strong.Read More
We all know smoking tobacco poses serious health risks. But what some people don’t know is that smoking can make certain health issues caused by diabetes worse or cause them to deteriorate faster.Read More
No matter what age you are, or how much or how long you’ve smoked, it’s never too late to quit. Giving up smoking has many health benefits that happen within the first year.
The day you quit smoking is the day your health begins to improve. Twenty minutes after you smoke your last cigarette, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the spike caused by smoking. After just 72 hours, breathing becomes easier and energy levels increase. Within one year, your risk of developing heart disease decreases significantly.
It’s not too late. Kicking the habit may reduce your risk of heart attack, while decreasing your odds of developing other serious conditions.
Are you ready to learn more about how to quit smoking? We’re here to help.Visit Quit for You
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