14 Easy, Even Enjoyable, Steps To A Healthier Heart — Including Flirt, Date, And Have Sex

February 19, 2013  |  
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Being heart-health-conscious doesn’t have to mean dulling down your meals and complicating your workouts. Okay— one day it may mean that. But for those of you just dabbling with the idea of living a heart-healthier life, here are easy, even enjoyable ways to ease into it.

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Have a steak

Stop looking at your one red-meat-day a week as an indulgence and see it as a smart move. Beef provides selenium, which boosts your immune system and has Vitamin B and plenty of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat—up to 50% of the steak has it.

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Flirt, date and have sex

Causing your heart rate to pick up regularly is an important part of heart health. And you don’t just have to do this through jogging. Approaching a cute guy at a bar, going on a first date and having sex (not necessarily all in the same night!) will give your heart a good race.

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Jog indoors when it’s gray out

Don’t force yourself out for a run on a hazy day. That haze is mostly pollution, which can stifle the delivery of oxygen to your blood, making it more likely to clot. Hit a treadmill or jog in place in front of your TV when it’s grey out.

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Avoid smokers

If you’re exposed to just 30 minutes of cigarette smoke 3 times a week, your risk for heart disease increases by 26%. So, keeping your smoking friend company when she steps out for a cigarette break at a party can, in fact, be harmful you if you hang with that friend regularly.

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Add macadamias

Research has found that substituting 15% of your daily calories with Macadamia nuts can decrease your bad cholesterol by up to 5% and increase your good cholesterol by up to 8%. The secret is in the natural monounsaturated fat in the nuts.

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Cheer up

Those who struggle with depression are more than twice as likely to develop heart complications. So spend more time with friends, exercise more, see a therapist or even consider anti-depressants—whatever you have to do to fight the blues.

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Vent

It’s great that you don’t take your anger and aggression out on those you love, but then where does it go? Right to your heart! And that’s a bad thing. Studies have found that those who express or release their anger face a 50% less risk of heart disease. So buy a punching bag, or vent to a friend with a good listening ear. Just don’t hold your anger in.

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Enjoy Cranberry juice

As a woman, drinking Cranberry juice has twice the health benefits: it helps ward off UTI’s and can increase good cholesterol levels by 10%. That small raise in HDL-cholesterol can cut your risk for heart disease by 40%. Stick to brands with 100% juice and at least 27% cranberry.

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Order the Chef’s Salad

Don’t avoid it because of the fatty egg yolk. That, combined with the leafy greens, provide you with lutein—a phytochemical filled with heart-healthy antioxidants.

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Enjoy more tea

Indulge in two cups of the calming stuff a day. Those who do are 25% less likely to die from heart-related issues than those who never drink tea. That’s because the flavonoids in tea have a blood-thinning effect, reducing the risk of clotting.

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Socialize!

See your friends at least once a week, maintain relationships, join a group. Lonely people have a harder time combating stress, a large contributor to heart disease. So go ahead: treat yourself to a drink with friends. Consider it an investment in your health.

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Drink every other night

On that note, enjoy a drink every other night. A study found that those who drink 3 or 4 alcoholic beverages a week have a 32% less risk of suffering from a heart attack than those who only have one drink a week. Moderate alcohol intake can raise the good cholesterol, keep blood thin and reduce the risk of clogged arteries.

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Eat more chocolate

But the dark kind, that contains blood-thinning flavonoids to prevent clotting, and healthy monounsaturated fat. Dove dark chocolate bars have been found to contain the most flavonoids.

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Add tomatoes

The lycopene found in tomatoes minimizes the dangerous cholesterol build up on artery walls. So add more tomatoes to your salad, add more sauce to your pastas and indulge in the occasional bloody Mary.

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