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A self-adjusting muscular pump that is completely responsible for circulating your blood throughout your entire body every day for your entire life. Every minute your blood makes a complete circulation. If your heart fails to circulate the blood for just 3 minutes, you will die. What responsibility! What pressure! Yet the heart handles the task with ease, as long as you take care of it.

User's Manual

Your heart is one of the deciding factors of how long you will live. Heart disease leads the U.S. in deaths. What you eat, your stress level, your sleeping habits and how much you exercise all have detrimental effects on the physical strength of your heart. The coronary arteries supply the heart with blood and thus oxygen. The condition of your coronary arteries is directly related to the strength of your heart. They are also extremely vulnerable to cholesterol build up. So if you want a strong heart and to keep risk factors in check, use the following guidelines...

A healthy diet
A well-rounded meal roughly composed of 60% carbos, 10-15% protein, 25-30% fat. You can disregard the numbers as long as you center your meals around fruits veggies and grains (including pasta) and keep your meat poultry and seafood intake between 4-6 ounces per day. (about the size of your fist)

Avoid add on fats like butter and oil.
This avoids cholesterol sludge in your arteries and keeps weight and blood pressure down.

Avoid saturated fats.
Eat unsaturated fats unless there is a family history of cancer.

Avoid fatty greasy foods.
Fast food as a general rule is soaked in artery hardening fat.

Avoid eating large quantities of salt.

Cook from scratch.

Eat carrots and other yellow and orange veggies.
These are rich in antioxidants, including Vitamin C and Beta-carotene, to protect against heart disease.

Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise such as running, swimming, biking or hiking, 30 minutes a day 3 times a week. Lack of exercise can be as great a risk factor as smoking, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Get 8 hours of sleep every night.

Don't Smoke.

Keep your weight at a healthy level.
Refer to the body weight chart.

Keep stress at a minimum.
Exercise can help you accomplish this.

Visit your doctor for a physical every year.
They'll make sure your weight is normal, your blood pressure is under 140/90 and your total cholesterol divided by your HDL is 4.5 or below. (LDL is the cholesterol that deposits fatty plaque on your arterial walls while HDL keeps your arteries clean.)

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Amazing Facts

The heart pumps 5 liters of blood through the body
The heart beats over 100,000 times a day.
The heart pumps up to 2.5 billion times in an average lifetime
The heart is about the size of your fist
An average heart rate for men is 70-72 beats per minute
An average heart rate for women is 78-82 beats per minute

Related Links

Cardiovascular System
Blood Vessels