The human heart is made up of muscles and is a crucial part of the body's circulatory system. Barely the size of a person's fist, the heart's mechanisms are both complex and interesting.

From making sure oxygenated blood flows throughout the body to supplying hormones to vital organs, you may be surprised to know how hard the organ works every day just to keep you alive. The heart's everyday functions are sometimes jeopardized by some physical and external stressors, but it's important one takes note of the tell-tale signs and makes some lifestyle changes to stop the damage right there and possibly, reverse it.

People risk long-term heart conditions by failing to stick to a heart-healthy diet or exercise. While it's understood that incorporating mindful eating habits or workouts in busy modern-day lives is quite a task, some fascinating facts about the heart may influence you to take that route.

Here are some heart health facts that everyone should know:

  1. 1. Don't overstress yourself

Managing your stress levels is key to overall health and when it comes to the heart, it is of supreme necessity. When the mind is depressed, its effects extend to the body. According to, poor mental health increases blood pressure levels, which, in turn, leads to heart attack and stroke.

  1. 2. Quit smoking

Smoking is the harbinger of dreadful heart diseases. A 2019 study published in National Library of Medicine said quitting cigarettes can lead to weight gain but it had its own benefits. For those struggling to quit, nicotine patches are available to pacify cigarette cravings.

  1. 3. Bare your heart

Hoarding secrets or bottling up emotions are detrimental to the heart. Keeping up with friends and maintaining good social ties means your heart is happy. Persons without strong social connections are 20% more likely to die due to heart diseases, suicide or accidents, Health Day reported, citing a 2002 study.

  1. 4. Eat lots of fruits and veggies

Fruits and vegetables are packed with heart-healthy nutrition. Ditching a calorie-dense diet for a bowl of fruits means your body receives enough anti-oxidants and your weight is under control.

  1. 5. Incorporate more dietary fiber in your meal platters

Fiber helps lower cholesterol. When there is too much cholesterol in the blood, it starts to build up in the arteries, causing them to narrow and therefore impacting blood flow. Eating loads of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains means your body is having a good supply of fiber, according to the Department of Heart and Human Services.

  1. 6. Don't sit for long periods of time

A desk job may require sitting for long hours but taking short breaks is highly recommended when it comes to heart health. According to Mayo Clinic, inactivity is greatly linked to heart disease. At least 2.5 hours/day of heart-pumping activity every week cuts down the risk.

  1. 7. Limit your alcohol consumption

Alcohol, especially the pricier options, is good for the heart if taken in cardiologist-approved measurements. However, it's important to draw the line and know how much is too much. According to Hopkins Medicine, there is evidence that moderate amounts of alcohol slightly raise levels of good cholesterol but excessive drinking can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure or stroke.

  1. 8. Manage your blood pressure levels during pregnancy

High blood pressure during pregnancy can heighten the risk of heart disease later in life, as per a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

  1. 9. DASH diet is good for the heart

Diet plays a pivotal role in managing blood pressure. High BP is one of the most important risk factors for heart disease. Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can directly address many cardiac issues and prevent heart failure or stroke, according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

  1. 10. Ditch saturated fat

Consuming food high in saturated fat, such as fried food or those with a highly oily substance can increase the risk. According to Healthline, it's wise to keep saturated fat intake to a minimum and replace the fatty choices with nutrient-dense options like fruits or fibers to help decrease heart disease risk.

  1. 11. Consume heart-healthy fats

Highly recommended options in this category are vegetable oil, low-fat mayonnaise and oil-based salad dressings. Doctors say following a Mediterranean diet is the tastiest way to incorporate good fats into your diet.

  1. 12. Lower your daily salt intake

Increased sodium intake increases fluid volume in the body, which means the heart has to work harder, according to the Journal of Clinical Investigation. While there is a hypothesis that a high amount of sodium in the body increases water cravings, it's better to stick to options that have less than five milligrams of sodium per serving. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams per day and one should try to bring the count down to 1,500 mg per day.

  1. 13. Avoid secondhand smoke

Avoid exposing yourself to secondhand smoke, which can cause almost the same damage to your heart as direct smoking. Start out by encouraging a smoker in your home to quit the deadly addiction.

  1. 14. Treat other chronic health conditions

Chronic kidney or lung disease can also have a bearing on heart health. Visiting a doctor annually or keeping them regularly under check is important.

  1. 15. Catch a good amount of sleep

Having less sleep can worsen the heart condition and it's tied to many other health problems. Having a good night's sleep will have a number of benefits like a balanced heart rate and a lesser risk of atherosclerosis, according to

  1. 16. Have a handful of nuts

Nuts enrich any diet as they considerably increase one's nutrient profile. In a recent research published in the journal Food Nutrition Research, doctors found that eating a handful of nuts every day can lower the risk of heart disease by about 25%.

  1. 17. Make breakfast count

Start your day with some fruits, vegetables and whole grains like oatmeal and bran flakes as breakfast makes a big difference in improving the heart's function.

  1. 18. Eat seafood more often

Indulging in seafood at least once a week provides your body with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart, as well as the brain, according to Mayo Clinic.

  1. 19. Practice deep breathing

Practicing deep breathing is an act of restoration. Doing some breathing exercises on a daily basis brings wonderful results to the immune system, and relieves anxiety and depression, which makes the heart happy, as per Harvard Health.

  1. 20. Cut back on sugar intake

Sugar has a bad rap when it comes to health. Sugar occurs naturally in foods that contain carbs, such as fruits and vegetables, grains and dairy. Keeping them at bay is imperative when you are seeking to improve your heart's pumping. As sugar is known to raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflation, a high amount of sugar – anywhere above 24 grams per day – in the diet can make the room for many heart conditions.

  1. 21. Eat dark chocolates

Chocolates and wine are known to boost heart health. Tracy Parker, a senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, told The Guardian that chocolates and wines are indeed good for the heart, given they are had in moderate amounts and regular exercise is done alongside.

  1. 22. Avoid overeating

The effects of overeating will spill over into your heart from the stomach. Those with eating disorders are the largest contributors to the growing heart attack statistics. According to a study by the journal Northwestern Medicine, overeating gets the body overworked, leading to a jump in heart rate. The stomach is also forced to expand to make room for the extra food. As a result, there is an accelerated rate of hydrochloric acid release to break down the food, which causes heartburn.

  1. 23. Stay away from vaping

Vaping leads to immediate tightening of the blood vessels, impeding the flow of oxygenated blood throughout the body. This leads to coronary artery disease and circulatory problems like stroke or heart attack, says a study.

  1. 24. Take heart screening tests seriously

Cardiologists say you should do some health screening tests on a regular basis to manage heart health. They include blood pressure and cholesterol tests, blood glucose tests, body mass index (BMI) measurement, exercise cardiac stress test and Cardiac CT scan for calcium scoring, to name a few, according to Healthline.

  1. 25. Eat a higher amount of plant-based foods

Eating a lot of plant-based food items ensure good bowel movement, lower blood sugar levels and keeps you miles away from heart diseases, according to Cano Health.

  1. 26. Maintain good oral hygiene

Maintaining good oral hygiene is also tied to good heart health. Health experts say bacteria building inside the mouth can impact the heart's valves and eventually lead to heart disease. Therefore, it's ideal to brush at least twice a day and floss.

  1. 27. Meditate

Studies have found that people who practice transcendental meditation for just 15 minutes a day can slash the risk of getting a cardiac event by half.

  1. 28. Try losing weight

Obesity slows down metabolism, which can lead to conditions like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, both of which could raise the risk of heart attacks.

  1. 29. Snack on citrus fruits

Citrus fruits, especially oranges, contain a cholesterol-lowering fiber, called pectin, and flavonoids that have a large anti-oxidant profile. They also contain potassium, which helps better regulate blood pressure. So, you can assume how much effective they are for improving cardiac condition.

  1. 30. Have whole flaxseeds or supplements made from them

Flaxseeds or flaxseed supplements are enriched with Omega-3 that target bad cholesterol and other impurities in the body, thereby keeping the heart pumping going without hassles.

30 unknown facts about heart health
30 unknown facts about heart health Medical Daily