February is national heart health month and I thought that I would take some time this week and give you some heart health information.
The human heart is a remarkable organ. It’s capable of sending blood to every cell in the entire body. It’s a pump that begins to function approximately 21 days after conception. It’s the very center of the entire cardiovascular system. On average, the human heart beats 72 times per minute. It continues to beat over two billion times during a lifetime. The human heart is responsible for sustaining life, so it’s extremely important to pay attention to heart-health.
Your heart is composed of muscle and connective tissue. It weighs between 250 and 350 grams when you reach adulthood. The heart is separated into four chambers that are responsible for receiving and dispensing blood throughout the body. These chambers are called the atria and the ventricles. Without the flow of blood into and out of the heart, human life cannot exist. So of course, it’s so critical to pay attention to the things that affect your heart.
Your diet is responsible for maintaining many of the functions in the human body. A delicate balance of electrolytes, vitamins and minerals are required so that the heart operates properly. Properly monitoring your diet can increase the health of your heart. The human heart requires a diet high in fruit and vegetables plus plenty of fiber. Grains and legumes are an excellent source of nutrients required for healthy heart function. Lowering your intake of saturated fats is also necessary to keep your heart functioning at peak levels.
High cholesterol levels can lead to arteries that become clogged with plaque. These clogs can actually cause the heart to stop functioning. Monitoring your cholesterol levels is as simple as taking a blood test. With the numbers in hand, a person is able to make changes in diet that will lower cholesterol levels. There are medications available that can lower the levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. These are prescribed by a physician and can be very important for maintaining heart health. However, according to researchers from Penn State University, eating an avocado a day, has the ability to lower LDL or bad cholesterol, especially LDL particles that have become oxidized.
Blood pressure also affects the function of the human heart. High blood pressure places extreme pressure on the walls of your arteries. Over time, this can lead to decreased heart function and stroke or heart attack. High blood pressure is often caused by obesity, lack of exercise or diet. Once again, changing your diet can lead to a lowering of the risk of heart disease related to blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure is one of the best ways to protect your heart.
Obesity and lack of exercise also contribute to heart disease. The heavier a person is, the harder her heart must work to pump blood throughout the body. Increasing exercise and lowering total body weight can condition the heart; just as regular exercise conditions other muscles in the body. A strong heart is able to pump blood more effectively throughout the body. The heart is definitely the most important muscle in the human body.
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