7 Ways to Help Your Heart with Life’s Essential 8

Posted by Superberries Team on 2/23/2024 to Health Tips

7 Ways to Help Your Heart with Life’s Essential 8

Recently, the American Heart Association upgraded its heart-healthy recommendations from Life’s Simple 7 to Life’s Essential 8. They added “Get Healthy Sleep” to the list of important actions we can all take to reduce our risks of developing heart disease or stroke. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can help us sleep enough (an average of 7-8 hours per day), which can have profound positive impacts on our lives. In addition to helping us cope with and reduce our stress, it can provide greater mental clarity and improve physical health. Sleeping adequate hours also gives us the energy we need to help our hearts in other ways. Coupling healthy sleep with these 7 tips can help you help your heart with Life’s Essential 8.

1. Eat Better

Every year there seems to be a new key trick to choosing food to be healthy. Recently, a study found that people who eat more than 30 different plant foods per week - including fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds - had more diverse gut bacteria, which led to improved digestion. If that feels daunting, try varying the colors of foods at each meal, aiming for at least 5 different colors. Or, focus on eating adequate protein from a variety of sources. You don’t have to do EVERYTHING to eat better. Start with one goal to focus on. Once you have improved those habits, add another goal. And don’t forget to hydrate!

2. Be More Active 

While we all know that we are supposed to do a minimum recommended 150 minutes  (5 days of 30 minutes) per week of moderate aerobic activity, finding the time can be difficult. Studies are showing that we don’t have to do those 30 minutes at the same time. Your cumulative efforts can add up. Take a few five-minute walks. Climb the stairs multiple times per day. Do some wall pilates. Every time you elevate your heart rate, you improve your cardiovascular health.

3. Quit Tobacco 

It cannot be overstated: If you use tobacco, quit. Consuming tobacco can cause cancer, heart disease, chronic lung disease, diabetes, stroke, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Though some sources claim vaping is less harmful than smoking, vaping also causes lung and heart damage.

4. Manage Weight 

Working with a doctor to reach and maintain a healthy weight helps reduce stress on your heart, lungs, and joints. It may also help you sleep better, improve your mobility and mood, and reduce blood sugar and blood pressure. There is so much more help than ever before to help us reach our bodies’ ideal weight. 

5. Control Cholesterol

Good ways to control our cholesterol are to follow guidelines 1-4. Eating heart-healthy foods such as foods containing soluble fiber, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and whey protein can help reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Eliminating trans-fats and reducing saturated fats in the diet can help as well. Exercise can increase our HDL (or “good”) cholesterol, which absorbs bad cholesterol from the blood and takes it to the liver to be eliminated from the body.

6. Manage Blood Sugar

Manage Blood Sugar by eating a healthy diet full of whole grains and unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Exercise also helps your body use the insulin it produces effectively, which helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. 

7. Manage Blood Pressure

High blood pressure damages arteries and makes them less elastic. This results in decreased blood and oxygen flow to the heart, which causes heart disease. We can all lower our blood pressure by eating well, exercising, not smoking, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep. Make friends with herbs and spices so that you can reduce your salt consumption.

Your heart is the powerhouse of your body. Treating it well is an investment in your future strength. Studies on Aronia berries have shown they have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect on the body, helping to reduce the risk of several types of cancers and heart disease. They can lower cholesterol and blood pressure when consumed regularly. Superberries produces a variety of Aronia berry products from frozen berries, juice concentrate, and gummy chews so you can include heart-healthy Aronia berries in your daily diet.