12 steps that you can take to protect your heart.
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.
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