If you do not have heart disease at this time, congratulations! You probably have been doing the right thing, eating healthy and being physically active. Still, you may want to read the following suggestions just in case you find one or two tips you can add to your healthy routine to cut down even further your heart disease risks.
On the other hand, those of you who already have had some heart disease scare, these tips may help you reverse the condition or at least keep it under control. This will mean taking less medication if this is your case.
You will find that the 10 tips I am lying down here are general guidelines. If you feel you would like to have more details in any of these tips, you can click on the words I have highlighted in blue for you.
1. Keep en eye on your cholesterol
It is important to keep cholesterol at bay because it can get stuck in the artery walls blocking blood flow and as a result giving a hard time to your heart. According to the American Heart Association, LDL cholesterol level, the bad one, should be under 100 mg/dl. Here you can find some guidelines for lowering cholesterol that you can apply to your diet; they are not hard to follow. Triglycerides level should be under 150 mg/dl.
2. Don’t eat too much salt
Although salt is necessary for your body in small quantities, it is important not to ingest too much. In fact, if you already have been diagnosed with heart disease or hypertension, you should keep salt consumption at a minimum; use very little when cooking. Best practice is to enhance the flavor of your dishes with spices and aromatic herbs. Keep in mind, however, that the real culprits in our diet when it comes to salt are packaged foods, cold cuts, broths and canned soups, salty nuts, instant purées, chips, olives, hard cheeses…
3. Keep blood glucose under control
One of the most serious risks for heart disease is diabetes. That is why it is important to have blood test done periodically to check the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
4. Follow the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has been found to be a panacea; not only centuries of experience but constant research show that those who follow this diet live longer. A regular ingest of fruits, vegetables, fish, cereals, legumes, and olive oil along with physical activity will keep you alive and in good health for a long time. Remember also that it is important to eliminate alcohol consumption, except for a small glass of red wine with meals if you like it, and to reduce saturated fat.
5. Be physically active most days of the week
Many of us are of a sedentary nature and we are not prone to practicing any kind of exercise. Excuses such I don’t have time or I am too tired, are quite familiar to all of us. We know it is good for us but we keep postponing it to a later time, maybe the beginning of the year, when goals are established. However, if you don’t keep yourself physically active on regular bases you will pay a high price as you get older.
6. Don’t neglect your diet when eating out or at work
Eating out is one of the problems associated with working. Many of us have little time for lunch at work and we eat anything that may be available to fill out our stomachs so we can keep working. With some planning ahead, you could take a healthy lunch with you to eat at work during those 30 minutes the company allows you for lunch. Make fruits part of your breakfast and mid-morning snack and salads part of your lunch.
7. Be on the alert with those extra pounds
Overweight and obesity are not good for your heart or for anything else for that matter. To keep an adequate weight it is important that you follow healthy dietary habits and that you practice physical activity regularly. If you need to lose weight look for advice from a dietitian; never start a diet on your own or take diet pills; they can do irreversible damage to your health.
8. Check your blood pressure regularly
It is important to check your blood pressure on a regular basis. Normal reading for blood pressure has to be 120/90 mmHg or below. If you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease, could be 130/80 mm/Hg or below.
9. Include Omega 3 from fish in your diet
These essential Omega 3 fats can help prevent the formation of blood clots. They have anti-inflammatory and anti-arrhythmia properties. They are found mainly in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout. Although there are also some omega 3 in walnuts, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, and hazelnuts, these omega 3 fats don’t have the same effects in your cells and do not protect you as well as the ones found in fish. Thus making fatty fish consumption is a must in your diet
10. Reduce your daily stress
Cases of heart disease are on the raise. Stress, due to our lifestyle, has been blamed many times as the main culprit for those heart episodes. Let us make an effort to control stress.
Heart disease is not something to take it lightly. In fact, it is the major cause of deaths worldwide. Making changes in your lifestyle if you need to will be the best way to prevent a heart episode. Don’t wait until your blood tests show high levels of cholesterol or your blood pressure is too high. Although a that stage you may be able to reverse the condition, why not take matters into your our hands and prevent such a predicament?