February is Heart Health Month and since heart disease remains atop the CDC’s leading causes of death list – let’s look at ways to reduce our relative risk. Among the top recommendations people will hear this month will include improving your diet, exercising more, or quitting smoking. Most people have heard many of these tips or at least know improvements in these fields are healthy. However, sometimes these changes can be too difficult, too expensive, or even take too much time for people to make (easily).
Here’s 3 ways that you can improve your heart health without breaking the bank or taking up precious time out of your day.
Clean Between Those Teeth!
My dentist growing up loved to tell patients that flossing was not only crucial for great looking teeth, but that it’d help prevent heart disease. Turns out he was right! People with periodontitis have an increased risk of cardiovasular disease. One of the best ways to fight periodontitis and maintain healthy gums is to floss to clear out the junk that gets missed between our teeth when we brush. Your gums and heart (and dentist!) will thank you for taking an extra minute to clean up.
Get The Right Amount of Sleep!
Sleep in important for many of our body’s functions, but it plays a big role in heart health. Studies have found that getting too much or too little sleep can increase our risk of cardiovasular disease. While the amount of sleep we need may vary between individuals, the studies found the target goal was 7 hours a night. Each hour more or less than 7 hours was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or strokes. If you’re having trouble hitting 7 hours, try these sleep tips to get some more quality sleep.
Limit Yourself to 1-2 Drinks
We’ve all heard that “a glass of wine a night is good for your heart!” But is it true? Studies say: maybe. There does seem to be a small benefit from drinking small quantities (2 drinks or less) of alcohol on heart health in some people. Once people get past 2 drinks their relative risk of heart disease begins to rise with each drink. On top of that, excess consumption can lead to excess weight gain, liver disease, and a host of other health issues. So if you like winding down with a drink at the end of the day, go for it! Just make sure you limit it to just one or two.