With all the fear surrounding Covid19 so many other health issues have been put on the back-burner.
We must not forget to look after our heart health every single day.
Please do not think you are immune either, even if you are in the younger category. I had a new patient contact me a few weeks ago who had just suffered a heart attack age 39 years old. She did not smoke and drank only moderately.
By her own admission her diet could have been better. As she lived alone and worked long hours, she was in that ‘ready meal’ category. That, as you and I know, is more likely to have high levels of salt, sugar and preservatives, so not a good combination on a regular basis.
Heart surgery can also cause other issues. It is now a known fact that over 33% of patients that endure heart surgery are likely to suffer from depression and anxiety after the procedure.
So, by eating the right foods, keeping your cholesterol low and exercising, you can really make shifts in your health to prevent, what is potentially a life changing disease.
High cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease and heart attacks. Medications can help improve your cholesterol (often with side effects) but so can lifestyle choices. And the only side effect from this is that you feel ‘fabulous!’.
Top tips for a healthy heart:
1. Eat heart-healthy foods
Just a few simple changes in your diet can reduce cholesterol and improve your heart health:
Reduce saturated fats. Saturated fats, found primarily in red meat and full-fat dairy products, raise your total cholesterol. Decreasing your consumption of saturated fats can reduce your low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol — the "bad" cholesterol.
Eliminate trans fats. Trans fats, sometimes listed on food labels as "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil," are often used in margarines and store-bought cookies, crackers and cakes. Trans fats raise overall cholesterol levels. The Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils by Jan. 1, 2021.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids don't affect LDL cholesterol. But they have other heart-healthy benefits, including reducing blood pressure. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, herring, walnuts and flaxseeds.
Increase soluble fibre. Soluble fibre can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Soluble fibre is found in such foods as oatmeal, kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, apples and pears.
Add so much of the good stuff, that there is no room for the bad! Eating plenty of berries, green vegetables, garlic and onions will help keep your heart happy!
2. Exercise and get moving 6 days a week!
Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol. If you don’t do any exercise please start slowly, but you should be aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise 6 times a week, plus additional stretching and yoga to help keep you suptle and mobile. (Again this is important whatever you age!)
Adding physical activity, even in short intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight and strengthen your heart. It can be simple things such as….
Taking a brisk daily walk outside
Riding your bike to work
Playing a favourite sport
To stay motivated, having an exercise buddy or joining an exercise group will help, as having someone to be accountable to helps you to stay on track! (clearly at a distance right now!)
3. Quit smoking
Quitting smoking improves your HDL cholesterol level. The benefits occur quickly:
Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate recover from the cigarette-induced spike
Within three months of quitting, your blood circulation and lung function begin to improve
Within a year of quitting, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker.
4. Lose weight
Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Small changes add up. If you drink sugary drinks, switch to water with lemon and lime in, and drink herbals teas that are going to benefit your health such as green tea.
Look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking further away in the car park on your supermarket shop. These small changes once implemented daily will make a big difference.
5. Drink alcohol only in moderation
Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol, so if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.
Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and strokes.
Product of the week:
Beetroot juice or Beetroot powder!
Raw beetroots have the most amazing effect on heart health. Why? They are a fantastic source of folate and betaine, and these nutrients act together to help lower blood levels of homocysteine which can increase your risk of heart disease by causing artery damaging inflammation.
You can eat beetroots raw by chopping into your salad, juice them in your juicer or use the powder. You can pop a teaspoon of the powder into a glass of water or your favourite daily green smoothie to improve circulation, libido, boost your stamina, support your liver and keep your arteries clean and healthy!
You only get one heart..make sure you take care of yours!