Heart-to-heart

12 steps that you can take to pro­tect your heart.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - > TURN TO PAGE 20

EV­ERY year, ap­prox­i­mately 17 mil­lion in­di­vid­u­als world­wide (WHO sta­tis­tics) die of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, par­tic­u­larly heart at­tacks. This sug­gests that many people with heart dis­ease don’t act early enough.

Ini­ti­at­ing 12 healthy life­style strate­gies could re­duce your risk for heart dis­ease by up to 50%.

Maybe you can’t change ev­ery­thing about the way you live, but if you strive for small changes, over time, the re­sults will add up. You’ll feel bet­ter, you’ll have more en­ergy, and you will be health­ier.

1. Eat less sat­u­rated fat and trans fat.

Re­duce the amount of an­i­mal fat you reg­u­larly eat – meat, but­ter, ba­con, cheese.

Try to elim­i­nate as much trans fat as pos­si­ble – fried foods, solid short­en­ing found in cook­ies, pas­tries and cakes.

2. Eat more mo­noun­sat­u­rated and polyun­sat­u­rated fat.

Eat more olive, av­o­cado, wal­nut, grape­seed, sun­flower, saf­flower, canola, corn and soy­bean oil.

We now un­der­stand it isn’t how much fat, but the kind of fat you eat that in­creases your risk for heart dis­ease.

3. Eat more omega-3 fat.

Eat fish of­ten – at least twice a week.

Eat omega-3 rich foods, in­clud­ing flaxseed, wal­nuts, purslane, soy, and pumpkin seeds.

Try some omega-3 en­riched foods – or­ange juice, soymilk, and eggs.

A num­ber of large pop­u­la­tion stud­ies showed that high omega-3 in­takes re­duced the risk for heart dis­ease by 46% to 70%.

4. Eat more nuts and seeds.

Rich in healthy fats, eat­ing two serv­ings a week can re­duce your risk of dy­ing of heart dis­ease by 11%.

Reg­u­larly eat­ing nuts helps to lower to­tal choles­terol.

Nuts are rich in polyun­sat­u­rated and mo­noun­sat­u­rated fats.

Wal­nuts are rich in omega-3 fats.

5. Eat more whole grains and fi­bre and less su­gar and re­fined car­bo­hy­drates.

Choose whole grains when­ever pos­si­ble – aim for at least three serv­ings a day.

A food that is a good source of fi­bre has three grams of fi­bre per serv­ing; an ex­cel­lent source has five or more grams per serv­ing.

People who eat whole grain ce­real ev­ery day have a 28% lower risk for heart dis­ease.

Switch from white bread to whole grain bread, white rice to brown rice.

Se­lect whole grain ce­real and pasta most of the time.

Eat less su­gar, but you don’t need to cut it out com­pletely.

Re­duce the amount of soda and sweet­ened drinks you use reg­u­larly. Di­lute presweet­ened drinks with sparkling wa­ter and drink more su­gar-free, calo­rie-free wa­ter.

6. Eat more veg­gies and fruits.

There is no deny­ing it: fruit and veg­eta­bles (in­clud­ing beans) are na­ture’s su­per­foods – aim for at least five serv­ings a day.

Berries – blue­ber­ries, strawber- Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, and eat­ing two serv­ings a week can re­duce your risk of dy­ing of heart dis­ease by 11%. — Filepic ries, cran­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries – may boost HDL choles­terol.

Eat whole fruits and veg­eta­bles rather than drink­ing juice.

For each additional serv­ing you eat daily, you de­crease your risk for heart dis­ease by 4%.

7. Think out­side the box when it comes to protein.

Re­place some of the an­i­mal protein in your diet with veg­etable protein – try hav­ing at least one meat­less meal each week.

Use meat to flavour dishes rather than dom­i­nate your plate.

Keep por­tions of meat rea­son­able, to about four ounces.

Ar­eas of the world that eat the most an­i­mal foods have the high­est rates of heart dis­ease.

8. Eat reg­u­larly; don’t fast then feast.

People who eat six small meals a day have lower choles­terol lev­els than those who eat one to two big meals each day.

Eat­ing small fre­quent meals also helps to reg­u­late blood su­gar and triglyc­eride lev­els and pro­motes more rea­son­able por­tion sizes.

9. Don’t drink. If you do, keep your in­take mod­er­ate.

One drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men should be the max­i­mum.

A drink a day has been shown to pro­tect your heart, but for some people, it can raise triglyc­erides.

10. Ex­er­cise

Ac­tiv­ity in­creases the blood flow through your blood ves­sels, stim­u­lat­ing them to elon­gate, widen and form new con­nec­tions which keeps them healthy.

Breathe in, breathe out: ex­er­cise low­ers triglyc­erides and boosts hdL choles­terol. — aP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.