Avoiding a Broken Heart

Categories: General

Adapted from an article by Jayne Reynolds, BCHN®, www.abundantlifenwc.com

Most of us remember being heartbroken when a prom date didn’t work out, a favorite pet crossed the Rainbow Bridge, or a family member got into trouble. All of us, no matter how long we’ve lived, would rather avoid any future heartbreak and instead enjoy more years of happy independent living.

Still, when it comes to the physical health of your heart, there are four surprisingly easy ways to cause irreparable damage.

Eat Too Much Sugar

In the USA, we consume about 180 pounds of sugar per person annually, which is 168 pounds too many. Sugar not only raises blood pressure, but also increases triglycerides (fats formed from sugars) and inflammation.

Harvard Health reported in a JAMA Internal Medicine study that if 25% or more of your daily calories come from sugar, you are twice as likely to die from heart disease as someone whose diet includes less than 10% added sugars. Sticking to less than 2 teaspoons (16 grams or 1/2 ounce) of daily added sugars (honey, corn syrup, sugar, maple syrup, etc.) is the smarter choice.

Drink Alcohol

Recently the World Heart Federation announced that “drinking can lead to loss of healthy life.” Previous health studies had encouraged a glass of red wine a day, largely for its antioxidant anthocyanins and blood pressure-lowering resveratrol.

However, studies have shown that “even small amounts of alcohol can increase a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, heart failure, hypertensive heart disease, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation, and aneurysm.”

No matter where you’re dining, keep in mind that anthocyanin’s antioxidants are in red, purple, and blue colored foods such as

  • berries
  • currants
  • grapes
  • some tropical fruits

You’ll find resveratrol in

  • grapes
  • peanuts
  • cocoa
  • blueberries
  • bilberries
  • cranberries

So consuming those instead of alcohol can improve not only senior health and wellness, but that of your kids and grandkids as well.

Forget to Brush Your Teeth

If you’re getting ready to go on a hot date, you would brush your teeth before you stepped out the door. Your significant other is not the only one who’s grateful for your oral hygiene. Periodontitis has been associated with an increased risk of heart disease. The bacteria that build up around your teeth and gums, according to Mayo Clinic (2020), “increase your risk of a bacterial infection in your blood stream, which can affect your heart valves.”

To protect your teeth and your heart, clean your teeth with fluoride-free toothpaste and fill your cavities with mercury-free fillings. Floss daily and use a Water-Pik. Avoid harsh dental products that destroy the good bacteria in your mouth. And don’t forget your dental checkup every six months. That will help you continue enjoying Arizona senior living with a healthier heart.

Lie Around All Day

Physical inactivity is extraordinarily detrimental to heart health. If you don’t move your body much, unfortunately, you’re not alone. According to the CDC, “roughly 60% of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity, and approximately 25% of U.S. adults are not active at all.” Regular, vigorous, and sustained movement is very good for your heart, preventing not only cardiovascular disease but other CVD risk factors like:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • insulin resistance
  • Type 2 diabetes

An advantage to independent living for seniors at Fellowship Square is that you can work up a sweat doing something fun with friends and neighbors. Take your dog for a walk, go swimming, play tennis or ping pong. It’s good for your heart and your relationships.

Mend Your Broken Heart

Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the United States. As of 2018, 30.3 million U.S. adults were diagnosed with heart disease, and every year, about 647,000 Americans die from it. But according to the World Health Organization, chronic conditions like heart disease are avoidable 80% of the time by making dietary and lifestyle changes.

Show your heart a little love. Reduce your sugar intake, enjoy lots of blue or purple fruits and vegetables, take care of your teeth, and move your body. With the meal plans and recreation opportunities at Fellowship Square, it’s easier than ever to prevent heartbreak. Just ask for a tour!


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