Reversing heart disease is not an easy task. It’s difficult to undo damage that has already been done, especially if it means turning your habits and life around entirely. You aren’t a magician or superhero, and heart disease is a serious thing!
How do you go about reversing heart disease when it seems to be ruling your life?
Sure, reversing heart disease sounds intimidating, but it IS possible! Here are some
steps to get you—and your heart—in the right place.
Don’t Confuse “Reverse” With “Prevent”
Let’s say your cardiovascular system is like a car, and you can be a good, safe driver and prevent something bad from happening, or you can be reckless and run the risk of getting into an accident and putting yourself in danger.
Remember this as we explain the difference between preventing and reversing heart disease.
Many get the term “reversing” confused with “preventing”.
In short, preventing heart disease is what everyone should be doing in the first place by making small and simple changes in every day life. We should all exercise more, keep dessert to a minimum, and eat all our food groups daily.
These efforts make sure that heart disease doesn’t occur in the first place. In prevention, your heart is a car and you’re trying to be a safe driver.
Reversing heart disease, however, means you’re literally trying to undo damage that has already been done. You may be standing on the threshold of a heart attack or stroke, you may already have sky-high blood pressure, cholesterol, or blood sugar.
In the case of reversing heart disease, your heart is a car and it’s already been in a wreck. Now it’s time to fix things.
This is what we mean by reversing your heart disease.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
This means no more fooling yourself. Your mission is big, because the stakes are
high if you don’t make a change.
If your problems are serious enough, your doctor will not candy coat the issue.
He or she will be extremely upfront about the changes you must make to be healthy again. It’s also important to be honest with yourself. Having an attitude of honesty will help you in successfully reversing your heart disease.
Clean Out Your Kitchen
We aren’t talking about mops and dish soap. We’re talking about your pantry and refrigerator.
Clean it all out and start over. Get rid of the salty snacks, the sweets, the packaged and processed, the fatty, and the sugary foods. Anything that doesn’t look like it belongs in the food pyramid is the enemy and it must go.
Take away: frozen meals, chips, sweets, processed food (mac and cheese, hamburger helper, etc), sugar, white flour, soda, fruit juice
Add In: fresh fruits and vegetables, whole wheat flour and bread, whole grains, lean protein, low fat dairy products.
Have A Support System
It’s hard to take care of yourself when you have a family of other loved ones you take of.
Make sure your family and friends know about the efforts you are making to turn your health around. Reversing heart disease entails a major change in lifestyle, and it’s no easy task.
Encouragement and understanding from those close to you will make the process seem easier and help you feel as though you aren’t in it alone.
Break A Sweat Every Day
Get that heart pumping every day. Do something that makes you break a sweat for at least 20 minutes a day. No one said you have to spend hours in the gym to be healthy. To learn more about the importance of a cardio workout, read Why Cardio Benefits Heart Health.
If you can’t get outside, complete this equipment-free indoor workout:
20 jumping jacks
2 minutes stretching
Workout: Do circuit 4 times with 30 seconds rest between each exercise and 2 minutes rest between eat set.
30 seconds squats
1 minute jumping jacks
30 seconds high knees
1 minute lunges
30 second jump squats
Stress has been linked directly to inflammation in the circulatory system. Stress affects your immunity, blood sugar levels, healthy sleep patterns, and healthy eating habits.
You’re more likely to eat more and crave unhealthy foods when you’re stressed instead of taking your diet under serious consideration.
Destress your life by getting organized and allowing time for yourself daily.
Invest in a planner, make lists, keep an eyes on your calendar, and take an hour every day to do something you genuinely enjoy–read, take a walk, got to a movie, do a craft, catch up with a friend.
Mental health very easily affects physical health, so taking care of your mind will ultimately help you undo damage done to your heart.
Know Your Nutrients
Know the star players when it comes to the ultimate heart healthy nutrients, and learn how you can be getting more of those nutrients from your diet.
It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor on supplements you can take for certain nutrient deficiencies such as Omega-3s and magnesium, but sometimes you don’t need to supplement extra if you make sure you’re receiving those nutrients in your diet.
For more information on key heart healthy nutrients, read Heart Healthy Diet-What Does It Really Mean?
Don’t let your heart health get out of hand! If you want to know more about preventing heart disease and maintaining a healthy heart, read How To Keep Your Heart Healthy-88 Ways To Protect Your Heart.