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Taking care of our hearts is more important than ever – but it’s also an overwhelming prospect. For one thing, it seems like the “rules” regarding heart care change every decade or so. For another, the whole concept feels so large to many of us.

The good news is that we can make dozens of small changes to help ensure we live heart-healthy lives. Continue reading to learn just a few tips – your heart (and your doctor) will thank you.

Tip #1: Eat Heart-Healthy Foods

This is perhaps the most obvious tip but can also be the most challenging. Eating heart-healthy foods is the best way to take care of your heart. This means eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy proteins. 

Unfortunately, it also means avoiding some foods we love to eat, such as saturated fats and high sugar. This isn’t to say that you can never have these foods, but you should be careful about only eating them in moderation.

Tip #2: No Smoking

Quitting smoking is arguably the biggest change you can make in your life, as far as your heart is concerned. Smoking (or the use of any tobacco products) has adverse effects on your heart, lungs, and even blood. As such, most medical experts will strongly advise that you quit as soon as possible.

You should avoid picking up this unhealthy habit if you’re not a smoker. It’s better for your heart and overall well-being. Discuss these concerns with your doctor should you need help quitting or have additional questions.

Tip #3: Exercise Regularly

Making time to exercise is another action you can take to ensure a heart-healthy lifestyle. Remember that the heart is a muscle, and as such, it needs to be exercised like any other muscle in your body.

Ideally, it would help if you aimed to work out at least three times a week. Modern research suggests that a half hour a day is best, especially if it gets the blood flowing and the heart pumping. 

Tip #4: Get Enough Sleep

Believe it or not, the quality (and quantity) of sleep in your life matters to your heart. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your body, including reducing the risk of many dangerous health conditions. It can also lower blood pressure, which is always a plus.

It’s important to remember that while the average ideal sleep is eight hours, everyone is different. Your body may need more or less than that, so listen to what it tells you in the morning.