27 Daily (Healthy) Habits That Are Ruining Your Heart, According to Science

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13. You don’t get out in the sun.

Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to heart disease. In fact, according to a 2018 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertensionvitamin D deficiency has been linked to several types of cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery diseases like angina and heart attack. Additionally, the data showed that people with low levels of vitamin D were found to have an increased risk of ischemic heart disease and early death.

14. You don’t maintain good dental hygiene.

Your daily dental routine could either help or hurt your heart, says Jeffrey Sulitzer, DMD, the chief clinical officer of Smile Direct Club, which produces 3D-printed clear aligners. “Brushing at least three times a day and flossing once a day can reduce chronic inflammation of the gums and supporting tooth structures,” he says. “Studies over the past 15 years have shown that if patients reduce the chronic inflammation that gum disease causes by having good oral hygiene, they can also have a positive effect on their diabetic, heart, and overall health condition.”

15. You don’t engage in hobbies or group activities.

Want to keep your stress levels low in order to keep your heart healthy? Do more of the things you love with the people you love. “Stress can be improved through behavior change,” says David Gregg, MD, the chief medical officer at Stay Well, a workplace wellness company. “Engaging in activities with friends helps increase the amount of movement and exercise an individual completes each day. Something as simple as taking a [socially distanced] walk with a friend… or even taking [online] dancing lessons helps to keep the body moving.” While seeing friends and family face-to-face is difficult right now, there are plenty of virtual meet-ups and classes you can take to connect with your loved ones.

16. You smoke.

Even if you simply consider yourself to be a “social smoker,” you’re still hurting your heart. “Other than food and exercise, the next biggest thing that can have detrimental effects on heart health is smoking and vaping,” says Ashley Wood, RN, BSN, contributor at Demystifying Your Health. “Since both of these contain nicotine, they aren’t good for your body. Nicotine causes your arteries to constrict in the short-term and after this happens repeatedly, the arteries start to harden. If you combine this with plaque buildup, you’re greatly increasing your chances of having a heart attack.”

17. You eat too much.

It’s easy to use mindless snacking to survive a stressful situation or to curb boredom—but according to Jason Reed, a pharmacist and the author of Prescription for Maximum Savings, overeating could do significant damage to your heart.

“Most people think that fatty foods are bad for your heart,” he says. “Really they are not, so long as you eat a well-balanced diet. What is more problematic is overeating consistently. Taking in more calories than you need leads to weight gain. This weight gain leads to diabetes and high blood pressure. Ultimately, it causes the right side of the heart to have to pump harder, and over time, that causes heart failure.”

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