Improving Your Heart Health
We’re all about helping our users live a happy and healthy life. Knowing that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally, we wanted to come in with some tips & information that might help improve your heart health to give you the best chance at living a long, healthy life.
Research suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle including: being smoke-free, staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol use can reduce your risk. Almost 80% of cases of premature heart disease and stroke are preventable so for tip-top heart performance, make sure your behaviours align with suggestions from the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
One of the best metrics for tracking your overall health is monitoring your heart rate. Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. On average most adults have a resting heart rate that falls between 60 and 100, but it can be normal to have a lower resting heart rate for those in peak physical condition.
Your resting heart rate is also influenced by different things like exertion from the day prior, illness, injuries etc. This is an important metric to get a baseline on and can be done easily by logging a biometric or syncing your wearable device with your Cronometer account.
Heart Rate Variability
Heart Rate (HR) has been a tracked metric for quite some time, but now Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is getting its share of the limelight as a health indicator too.
Heart rate variability is literally the variance in time between the beats of your heart. For example, if your heart beats 60 beats a minute it’s not necessarily 1 beat per second, it could be .9 seconds or 1.1 seconds between heart beats.
HRV is a highly personal number that can fluctuate greatly based on many factors depending on the day. So, it’s more important to track the trends of your HRV to develop your own baseline. HRV can give you great clues to aid your training, as it tends to increase on days where you’re rested versus you might see lower HRV numbers on days you’re more fatigued.
A lot of trackers on the market these days will use HRV in conjunction with your sleep to give you an idea on how rested you are – you might see it termed as “body battery”, “readiness score” or something similar.
The Cholesterol Myth
In the past, consuming cholesterol got a bad reputation for also increasing your blood cholesterol levels. Through research we know that high blood cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, this knowledge spurred many people to cut back on the amount of cholesterol they were eating.
Now studies show there isn’t much correlation between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and their blood cholesterol levels. We make around 800-1500 mg of cholesterol a day. Dietary intake is typically 100-300 mg/day. So, we aren’t eating much compared to what our bodies are making.
Additionally, if we eat more cholesterol, we reduce the amount our bodies make and increase how much we remove from the body to compensate.
The bottom line is if you’re worried about your cholesterol levels, have a chat with your physician to make sure you’re in the clear, but for the most part the amount you consume likely won’t have a big impact on your blood cholesterol levels.
Heart Health On Discovering Nutrition
We sat down with Registered Dietician, Margaret Brum and Registered Kinesiologist Mike Walker, who both specialize in cardiac research on a recent episode of our podcast, Discovering Nutrition with Cronometer. Listen to our chat with them below to learn what you can do to improve your heart health.