When it comes to reducing stress, there are more ways than one to conquer the battle. You already link stress with breakouts and other annoying symptoms—but what about your heart? If you read last week’s article, you know all about the dangers of stress on the heart—and how to prevent future heart problems through relaxation, diet changes, social networks, relationships, and laughter. Here are some other ways to reduce your stress levels while improving your heart health.
Cut back on caffeine. According to John Simmons Jr., MD, assistant professor of family medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, caffeine can raise your stress hormones, which can also increase inflammation. If you find that you’re constantly battling stress, your best bet might be to stick to something more soothing. Avoid coffee, tea, and diet soda—since diet soda has been linked to higher risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Avoid watching football. Not really—that would be crazy, right? But it’s important to know that recent research has suggested that football team losses are linked to a higher risk of heart attacks. So while you might want to scream at your TV, you may be better off staying calm—your heart will thank you.
Stick to a healthy diet. It’s not always easy to eat a balanced diet, but a healthy lifestyle will help you to shed pounds, reduce stress, and keep your heart healthy. According to Dr. Simmons, “eating a more balanced diet with complex carbs means you’re going to be stable throughout the day. You’re not going to have a carb high, then a drop down. Your mood isn’t going to fluctuate.”
Get help for depression. Since depression has been linked to shorter life spans and heart disease, it’s important to take control of depression. Medication, psychotherapy, and even cognitive behavioral therapy can help—and the Cleveland Clinic suggests selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors—since they won’t raise your blood pressure. It’s important to speak with your doctor about the right solution for you.
Sleep. Dr. Simmons suggests getting about six to eight hours of sleep every night, but it’s also important to get good quality sleep. Sleep apnea is a common condition that can wake you up throughout the night because of interrupted breathing, and can cause cardiovascular disease—in the form of hypertension and heart disease.
Exercise regularly. Exercise is important for overall health, and can greatly reduce your stress levels. Aerobic exercise can also help to reduce your risk of diabetes, strengthen your heart, and help with depression and anxiety.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
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