What Are The Signs Of A Healthy Heart?


The optimum functioning of the human body and mind depends on a sufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients via the bloodstream. In this case, the circulatory system readily comes to mind. Besides the extensive networks of blood vessels, the circulatory system relies on the heart to pump blood throughout the body (and also to transmit impulses that sustain the heartbeat). 

A healthy heart makes for a healthy body and mind. It ensures a timely and sufficient supply of blood to meet the demand of the body’s cells, tissues, organs and systems. The heart itself is lined with nerves, blood vessels and cardiac muscle. It constantly needs a blood supply and nourishment to function well.

It is clear that in order to live healthily, the heart must be adequately taken care of. There are natural ways of achieving this without having to rely on your doctor’s medication prescription.

The aim of this article is to show you how you can improve your heart (cardiac) health and most importantly, to track your progress while you are at it.  

Why is it important to have a healthy heart?

The importance of having a healthy heart cannot be overemphasized. This is because a lot of things could go wrong if the heart is unhealthy. For example, an unhealthy heart has been shown to be a risk factor for various diseases. These include those directly involving the heart like heart failure, heart valve disorders, myocardial infarction, (heart attack) and cardiac rhythm disorders (e.g. atrial fibrillation). Other diseases include disorders (usually related to blood clotting) like strokes, venous thromboembolism, diabetes, neurological disorders, chronic fatigue, and fainting spells (syncope).  

Apart from the cardiovascular system, other functions of the body are at risk due to a faulty heart. This is evident in endocrine/metabolic problems (type 2 diabetes and obesity), kidney problems, liver failure, recurrent inflammation and infections, poor reproductive health, and deteriorating mental health.1 

Signs of a healthy heart

Lower heart rate

Heart rate reflects the number of heartbeats recorded over a time period (usually per minute). This is influenced by the electrical activity triggered by a part of thye heart called the sinoatrial (SA) node, that culminates in the contraction and relaxation of the cardiac muscles. The normal heart rate is around 70 beats per minute. This is essential for the steady flow of blood in the blood vessels and sufficient blood supply to the tissues and organs, barring exceptional situations (larger size or vigorous physical activity like exercise or cardioactive medicines). A consistently abnormal heart rate can be an indicator of an unhealthy heart.

Stable blood pressure

The blood pressure reflects the force the blood exerts on the cardiac walls and blood vessels. The normal blood pressure range as agreed by global regulatory organizations, including the AHA (American Health Association), is in the region of 120/80 mmHg. The first number is the systolic blood pressure (when the heart contracts), the second is the diastolic pressure (when the heart relaxes).  This is crucial for the normal functioning of the human body. Blood pressure has always been a reliable indicator of cardiovascular/heart health. Overly high/low systolic or diastolic blood pressure means the heart is either sick (unable to beat properly and pump blood effectively) or the free flow of blood across the blood vessels is obstructed. Therefore, the goal is to stabilize the blood pressure when it is abnormal.

Low cholesterol level

Cholesterol is an important vehicle for the transport of lipids (fats) in the body and an important precursor for the production of critical hormones. Lipids have several essential functions in the body. Lipids also form part of the neurons that transmit electrical impulses through the brain and the rest of the body. An optimal cholesterol level is important to ensure cardiovascular health. This is because an optimal level reduces the risk of clotting disorders and inflammatory processes that obstruct blood flow and undermine cardiac performance. Plus, the risk of neurological problems is reduced. 

Healthy energy levels

Sufficient blood supply to the various body tissues ensures that nutrients are broken down properly to provide energy. The liver, lungs and brain are big consumers of oxygen-laden blood which is crucial for life’s processes. The brain needs a sufficient supply of oxygen/nutrients for you to stay alert. The lungs must be furnished with sufficient blood supply to maintain respiration, and the muscles depend on a healthy heart to stay fit for movement and endurance. Physical activity maintains healthy energy levels. So, when you next want to boost your physical fitness, think of how to improve your heart health! 

It is important to note that other signs of a healthy heart include normal and steady blood glucose levels, normal Body Mass Index, also known as BMI (obesity is a risk factor for poor cardiovascular outcomes), and absence of genetic markers, which indirectly affect cardiovascular health, such as a hereditary deficiency in PCSK9. 2,3

How to improve your heart health

Improving your heart health is a must if you intend to boost your overall fitness. The good news is that it can be done with simple steps. You don’t need to do something extraordinary. Anyone can implement these steps in one way or another to achieve success, provided they are done consistently. Sometimes, the best things in life are natural and free (or inexpensive at best).

The improvement of cardiovascular health is embodied in the American Health Association (AHA) Strategic Impact Goal. Interestingly, these are spelt out in their LS7 metrics which summarize the steps needed to achieve sustainable cardiovascular health: BMI, physical activity, diet, smoking, blood pressure, total cholesterol and fasting plasma glucose.1 


A good diet is the cornerstone of good health. Furthermore, each system in the body has unique dietary requirements (e.g. the renal diet), although a balanced diet generally offers sufficient nourishment. The heart is no exception. Some regimes of foods/nutrients are known to boost cardiovascular health. They are referred to as cardiac diets. Examples of supplements include calcium. vitamin D, coenzyme Q10, and folic acid among others.4 It is a good idea to consume food or drinks that are rich in these supplements, such as watermelons, avocados, and whole grains among several others. Additionally, it is crucial to remember that avoiding excessive salt intake can help the compensatory mechanisms that lead to a spike in blood pressure.  

It is also important to note that poor dietary choices can result in being overweight/obese, and this can lead to heart problems accompanied by related metabolic syndrome.5 


Exercise readily comes to mind when considering ways to boost cardiovascular health. Cardio-based exercises are geared towards boosting stamina and endurance. It has been shown to be good for brain health, respiratory health and immunity. Running and walking are good ways to challenge your body to perform optimally (if you’re mobile). The good news is that running and walking are easier to do compared to bench presses and lifting heavy weights. 

Stop Smoking

Smoking is a risk factor for a multitude of debilitating chronic diseases including COPD, cancer, and of course, cardiovascular diseases (like strokes and heart attacks). The evidence that points to these diseases are compelling. Therefore, to prolong life and maintain good health, the smoking habit should be curbed by any means possible. Of course, this cannot be achieved all at once; there are smoking cessation therapies available to ensure the goal of stopping smoking is achievable. 

Reduce alcohol

Like smoking, alcohol impacts the heart and blood vessels directly and negatively. In manageable quantities (e.g. occasional wine consumption), alcohol is not bad for the heart. But when alcohol is abused, the heart and its blood vessels suffer. Therefore, curbing alcohol dependence/addiction goes a long way to restore cardiovascular health and minimize further damage.   


A healthy heart makes for a healthy body and mind. The importance of heart health has been highlighted, by providing examples of the numerous roles the cardiovascular system plays in the body. Recognising the signs of a healthy heart provides a goal to aim for. Therefore, a few indicators were pointed out to help you track your cardiovascular health and make the necessary adjustments when needed. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive.

Finally, It is important to take decisive actions when these indicators of cardiovascular health are not measuring up. These actions may look simple on the surface, but their impact is far-reaching and powerful, considering the fact that cardiovascular diseases are the major causes of mortality for humans. Ultimately, they play a major role in attaining a desirable quality of life. 


  1. Devaraj SM, Rockette-Wagner B, Miller RG, Arena VC, Napoleone JM, Conroy MB, Kriska AM. The Impact of a Yearlong Diabetes Prevention Program-Based Lifestyle Intervention on Cardiovascular Health Metrics. J Prim Care Community Health. 2021 Jan-Dec;12:21501327211029816. doi: 10.1177/21501327211029816. PMID: 34236004; PMCID: PMC8274083.
  2. Shay CM, Gooding HS, Murillo R, Foraker R. Understanding and Improving Cardiovascular Health: An Update on the American Heart Association's Concept of Cardiovascular Health. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2015 Jul-Aug;58(1):41-9. doi: 10.1016/j.pcad.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 May 7. PMID: 25958016.
  3. Veljkovic N, Zaric B, Djuric I, Obradovic M, Sudar-Milovanovic E, Radak D, Isenovic ER. Genetic Markers for Coronary Artery Disease. Medicina (Kaunas). 2018 May 28;54(3):36. doi: 10.3390/medicina54030036. PMID: 30344267; PMCID: PMC6122104.
  4. Sosnowska B, Penson P, Banach M. The role of nutraceuticals in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2017 Apr;7(Suppl 1):S21-S31. doi: 10.21037/cdt.2017.03.20. PMID: 28529919; PMCID: PMC5418215.
  5. Tørris C, Mobekk H. Improving Cardiovascular Health through Nudging Healthier Food Choices: A Systematic Review. Nutrients [Internet]. 2019 Oct 18;11(10):2520. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu11102520
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Ezekwesiri Nwanosike

Master's degree - Drug Discovery and Business Strategy, The University of Huddersfield
I am a business-minded Pharmacist who specializes in leveraging clinical data to improve patient wellbeing. My passion is ensuring that quality, safe and effective health information/products are within the reach of everyone.

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