10 tips for cardiovascular health & longevity

7 February 2024

Researchers Maria L. Cagigas, Stephen M. Twigg and Luigi Fontana summarize evidence-based tips to support heart and metabolic health

Aging is a complex process influenced by genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors. A recent study has compiled ten evidence-based strategies to promote cardiometabolic health and slow cardiovascular aging.

Here’s a concise overview of the key findings:

  1. Optimization of body composition and muscle function: prioritize optimal body composition over mere weight control. Combining moderate calorie restriction with regular endurance and resistance exercise helps combat harmful fat accumulation and enhances muscle mass

  2. Consumption of a plant-based mediterranean-like diet: a predominantly plant-centric, fiber-rich diet enriched with fish and low-fat dairy products offers significant benefits for heart health. Lowering intake of certain fats and increasing essential nutrients underlies these positive effects

  3. Intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating: for those combating obesity, intermittent vegetable fasting or time-restricted eating within an 8- to 10-hour window can complement weight management strategies

  4. Engagement in daily physical exercise: regular physical activity, including diverse exercise modalities, is pivotal for cardiovascular health. Incorporating short breaks to counter prolonged sitting further enhances metabolic outcomes

  5. Alcohol abstinence: contrary to common belief, accumulating evidence suggests that alcohol is not beneficial for cardiovascular health. Abstaining or minimizing alcohol intake is recommended

  6. Abstinence from smoking: all forms of tobacco use, including second-hand smoking, significantly harm cardiovascular health. There is no safe level of smoking in relation to heart disease, stroke, cancer, dementia, and chronic respiratory diseases

  7. Prioritization of restorative sleep: insufficient sleep and disrupted sleep patterns are emerging risk factors for various cardiovascular issues. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule and creating a sleep-friendly environment are crucial for sustaining cardiovascular health

  8. Reduction of mental stress: chronic mental stress and negative emotions impact cardiovascular health independently of classical risk factors. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, cognitive therapy, and slow breathing exercises can effectively alleviate psychological stress

  9. Foster meaningful relationships and compassion: robust social and family bonds are essential for emotional well-being. Nurturing connections through empathetic communication, altruism, and compassion contributes to overall well-being

  10. Minimize pollution exposure: pollution, even at low levels, is linked to increased cardiovascular and respiratory mortality. Mitigating pollution exposure through various measures is crucial for heart health

In conclusion, adopting a holistic approach to cardiovascular health by incorporating these strategies into one’s lifestyle can proactively promote cardiometabolic health and attenuate the aging trajectory of the cardiovascular system. These recommendations extend beyond cardiovascular health, contributing to the prevention of various prevalent chronic diseases. This shift is crucial for moving healthcare systems towards chronic health promotion for universal health coverage.

Source: Ten tips for promoting cardiometabolic health and slowing cardiovascular aging

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