|8 Ways to Love Your Heart|
|Written by Turks and Caicos Heart Foundation|
|Thursday, 12 May 2011 08:48|
Today and everyday, show your heart some love.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States and in the entire industrialized world. Each year, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. and 150,000 worldwide die every day from heart attacks.
But heart disease is preventable — and even reversible, medical experts say — by managing your weight, getting regular exercise, and eating lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and little meat. Consider these ways of taking good care of your heart, and show your ticker some love — starting today.
Or take a walk, go swimming, or work hard in your garden. Physical exercise that works the heart is critically important for cardiovascular health.
It also will make you look and feel better as you slim down and those feel-good endorphins kick in. Plus, it will give you more energy and strength for everyday chores around the house.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that most adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day at least five days a week.
Two servings a week of fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including salmon, mackerel, and albacore tuna, are key for heart health.
Omega-3 fatty acids slow the growth of artery plaque, reduce triglyceride levels, slightly lower blood pressure, and cut the risk of abnormal heartbeats, according to the American Heart Association. The group recommends a 3.5-ounce serving cooked. (But be sure not to fry the fish, which can rob it of its beneficial fats, health experts say.)
Switch to a skim latte
Make one small change a day that will help you in your goal to become heart healthier, the American Heart Association recommends. Tuck an extra piece of fruit into your lunch bag. Add another vegetable to your supper plate.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park several blocks from your destination and hoof it the rest of the way there. Such small changes add up over time, health experts say.
Go high on fiber
Soluble fiber helps lower LDL or so-called “bad” cholesterol and contains other nutrients that fight heart disease. Fiber also helps with weight management by making us feel full longer. That’s because it prolongs the time it takes for the stomach to empty, in turn, slowing the time it takes for sugar to be released and absorbed.
Fiber-rich oatmeal has been shown to promote weight loss, improve cholesterol profiles, reduce inflammation, and fight against high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Other good sources of fiber are beans, grapefruit, fruit with the skin, berries and sweet potatoes.
Excess salt in our diets elevates the risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other serious medical problems.
Federal health officials recently recommended that people 51 and older, all African Americans, and people suffering from diabetes, hypertension, or chronic kidney disease cut the amount of sodium they consume to 1,500 milligrams, or a little more than half a teaspoon.
You can help do that by avoiding high-sodium, prepackaged foods; looking for food labels that say “less sodium,” “low sodium,” or “no salt added;” tasting food before adding salt; and using other spices to season food, like cilantro, dill, mint and rosemary.
Consider your heart health whenever you cook. Use oils lowest in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol such as olive, canola, corn, safflower, sesame, soybean, and sunflower, the American Heart Association advises.
Give up cigarettes
When it comes to heart disease, the reasons for quitting smoking are many. People who smoke are at increased risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
Smoking raises the risk of blood clots, aortic aneurysm, and peripheral artery disease, according to the American Heart Association. Smoking even reduces HDL, or “good,” cholesterol levels, as well as your tolerance for exercise.
Know your risk
The American Heart Association offers an assessment tool that looks at how controllable risk factors affect your chances of having a stroke, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome is another group of risk factors, including waistline width and insulin resistance. Together, they raise your risk of stroke, coronary artery disease and diabetes.
Risk factors for heart disease are:
For further information contact, the Turks and Caicos Heart Foundation at 649-247-3269 or e-mail
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