Hurting Your Heart: Five Ways You’re Harming Your Most Vital Organ

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Did you know that Heart Disease — not breast cancer — is the number one cause of death in women worldwide? That’s an alarming piece of information. In fact, it’s even more upsetting that we inadvertently do things that harm our heart every day. It’s the nucleus of the body, and we do everything we can to try and keep it healthy: eat right, exercise, sleep, and so on. What are we doing wrong? Below, we’ve outlined some of the shocking ways we might be doing damage to our body’s most vital organ without even knowing it.

• FLOSSING

Or not flossing, as it were. Our gums and our hearts are more related than we think. According to Harvard professor, JoAnne M. Foody, “Dental health and heart health go together, and there’s a lot of science suggesting that poor dental health and gingivitis can promote heart disease.” The chronic inflammation that results from poor hygiene often creates inflammation throughout the body, and tiny bacteria from your mouth may slip into the bloodstream.

• STAYING INDOORS

Staying indoors is an effective way to shield yourself from the harmful effects of too much sun, but make sure you’re still receiving your daily dose. Sunlight exposure ensures that you’re maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D, and aside from benefiting the skin, it also benefits the heart. In a study conducted by medical professionals in New York, it was discovered that those who had lower levels of Vitamin D were also more likely to develop plaque build up in their arteries. Overtime, this build up can lead to blockage, which can cause strokes and heart attacks. Get some sun, guys!

• DRINK MILK

Dairy products have long been considered harmful to our diets, given that they’re usually high in fat. Recent studies, however, seem to illustrate that the tide is turning. In a nationwide study conducted on almost 82,000 postmenopausal women, results indicated that those with the highest dairy intakes actually cut their risk of developing diabetes in half. Milk mustaches may not be chic, but they’re healthy.

BEANS

Like the nursery rhyme suggests, beans are indeed a magical fruit. In fact, black, pinto, and kidney beans are among some of the best sources of protein and soluble fiber. The latter works to clean the cholesterol out of your arteries, ensuring a healthier heart. All that said, make sure to pile them high on your next burrito.

LONELINESS

It likely doesn’t surprise you that the mind and body are connected, but probably more than you think. In a recently completed 13-year study of 3,000 people, women were reportedly “twice as likely as men to describe themselves as lonely.” And further, the loneliest women had a 76% higher chance of developing heart disease than those who claimed they were not depressed or despondent. Make sure you’re looking after your mental health as much as your heart’s.

 

 

 

About Veronica Davis

Veronica is from Ballwin, Missouri. She wanted to be a registered nurse until college, where she discovered her passion for writing about health and wellness. She studied nutrition and journalism and now she contributes to several publications including Nature's Health Watch which she also edits.

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