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If you want to live a healthy lifestyle, a big part of that is taking good care of your heart. It is one of the most important organs in your body, after all. And considering that almost 20% of Americans will develop heart failure within their lives, it becomes that much more important to take good care of yours. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few simple things you can do to promote a healthy heart.

Practice Good Dental Hygiene

It might not seem like it, but your oral health is typically an excellent indication of your overall health. In fact, there are certain bacteria involved in the development of gum disease that have the potential to move into the bloodstream. In turn, they may cause an elevation in C-reactive protein, which is a marker for blood vessel inflammation. As a result, your risk of developing heart disease could increase. That’s why practicing good dental hygiene is so important if you want to maintain a healthy heart. If you’re having trouble cleaning your teeth properly, it might be time to consider orthodontic treatment. The average person will need to wear braces for about two years, but invisible aligners can often get the job done in less time, depending on the state of your teeth. Well-aligned teeth are not only easier to clean, but they can help promote a healthier mouth overall. And if you’ve already had braces, just make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing on a regular basis.

Maintain a Heart-Healthy Diet

Part of maintaining your overall health and promoting excellent heart health lies in what you eat. While it’s important to eat until you’re full, it’s equally as important to make sure you’re getting fruits, veggies, and healthy fats in with every meal. For starters, foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium are important to a heart-healthy diet. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish. If you’re not the biggest fan of fish, that’s no problem. It’s easy to supplement the protein and fatty acids you can get from fish with other foods and some dietary supplements. It’s also worth considering a diet that’s lighter on meat to keep your cholesterol levels in check. And of course, stay hydrated! Drinking water is paramount to a healthy lifestyle and can help you keep everything running smoothly.

Get Active Every Day

Getting active is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, it’s also excellent for your heart! If you really want to promote a healthy heart, it’s a good idea to perform at least two or three hours of moderate- to high-intensity aerobic activities every week. If you’re not sure what kinds of exercises are going to best help you meet this guideline, here are a few options to consider:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling
  • High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

Even 15-20 minutes of moderate activity every day can help you maintain a healthy body and a healthy heart. It’s okay to start small, too. If you can do even 10 minutes of physical activity when you’re just starting out, that’s better than doing nothing at all. Soon enough, you’ll find that you feel stronger and you can exercise for longer, too.

There are a lot of things that we let slide on a regular basis, but the truth is that preventive action can solve all kinds of problems. Those leaks in your house that waste almost 90 gallons of water per day? Fixing them when you first noticed could have saved you a lot on your water expenses. That heart disease that runs in your family? A few simple changes in your daily life can help reduce your risk of developing it.