You can improve your heart health by adopting some good habits. This can slow down aging processes, new research shows.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 6,500 adult Americans and presented initial results at a meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA).
The researchers wanted to compare the participants’ actual age with how quickly their bodies were aging. They used the measure “phenotypic age”, which uses health characteristics such as organ functioning and inflammation to determine whether your body is “younger” or “older” than your actual ‘chronological’ age, says researcher Nour Makarem of The Columbia University.
“Phenotypic age is a practical means of monitoring the biological aging process and a good predictor of the risks of disease and death,” Makaren said in a press release.
The researchers concluded that a healthier heart leads to a slowdown of the aging process and vice versa. For example, the average age of the participants in the study with a healthy heart was 41 years old and their biological age was 36. And conversely, a weak heart accelerates the aging process: participants with a moderate heart condition were on average 53 years old, but their biological age was scaled down. at 57.
The researchers have calculated that people with the healthiest hearts are biologically almost six years younger than their actual age.
A healthy heart lifestyle is important for your heart condition. Consider nutritious meals, enough sleep, sufficient exercise and keeping an eye on cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
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8 healthy habits for your heart
In the Netherlands there are approximately 1.7 million people with cardiovascular disease, according to figures from the Heart Foundation. 103 people die from it every day and around 644 people are admitted to hospital every day due to cardiovascular disease.
These are eight good habits to keep your heart as healthy as possible:
- A healthy diet which is rich in plant foods and moderate in red meat and processed foods.
- Sufficient exercisewhere the goal is 2.5 hours of moderately intense exercise per week and ideally is a mix of strength training and cardio.
- Stay at a healthy weight: Although BMI is not always a good indicator of your health, higher body fat generally increases the risk of health problems such as chronic diseases.
- A good night’s rest of between seven and nine hours ensures a better mood, better blood pressure and even a healthier weight.
- No nicotine prevents serious health problems caused by smoking tobacco or e-cigarettes.
- Limit your cholesterol levels because less of the “bad” LDL cholesterol is important for blood flow and preventing blockages that can cause a heart attack or stroke.
- A balanced blood sugar level you get by eating enough fiber and protein and exercising regularly, which helps keep your metabolism healthy and reduces the risk of heart problems.
- Prevent high blood pressure is also very important to limit the risk of a heart attack or stroke and this can be done by managing stress well and adhering to the other tips on this list.
If you follow the above behavioral guidelines, the chance that you will grow older increases healthily, the researchers say.
“Better adherence to all 8 ‘Life’s Essential’ prescriptions improves your cardiovascular health, slows the aging process and has many benefits,” Makarem said in the press release. “A lower biological age not only reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, but also ensures a longer life and a smaller chance of premature death.”