Power your life on World Heart Day 2016
World Heart Day takes place on the 29th of September each year with the aim of increasing heart health and awareness. And it’s a good thing too because according to recent statistics released by the The World Heart Federation, strokes and heart disease are the leading cause of death worldwide. In fact, more than 17.1 million people die from heart-related illnesses each year. Pretty terrifying, isn’t it? Which leads us to our next question…
How are YOU treating your heart?
You may think your ticker is ticking along relatively well, but are you even aware of the things you should be watching when it comes to your heart? These are a few of the triggers for heart problems:
• Overeating and drinking
• Poor diet
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Lack of exercise
Most medical aids pay for an annual check-up, so take advantage and get your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked annually at your nearest pharmacy or doctor. Once you know your health status, you can start implementing some of the following changes to reduce the strain on your heart and give it the care it deserves.
1. Quit smoking
According to the American Heart Association, smoking is one of the seven major independent risk factors for coronary heart disease.
2. Skip the salt
Too much salt raises your blood pressure, so opt for herbs instead when flavouring your food. It may take a while for your taste buds to adjust, but your heart will thank you.
3. Check the label
If sugar appears in the first three ingredients on a food label, you probably shouldn’t be eating it. And here’s something else worth knowing: Salt is often disguised as sodium alginate, sodium sulfite, sodium caseinate, disodium phosphate, sodium benzoate, sodium hydroxide, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium citrate.
4. Limit your alcohol intake
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, especially over time, causes raised blood pressure, which is a major factor in strokes and heart attacks as well as diseases of the heart muscle. Men, set your daily limit at two glasses. Ladies, we’re afraid the rule book recommends just one glass per day for you.
5. Shed a few kilos
Excess weight means your heart has to work harder, so keep an eye on your waistline and take the necessary steps when the scale starts tipping in the wrong direction.
6. Start moving more
Fact: Just 30 minutes of walking per day reduces your risk of heart attack by a third. That should be all the motivation you need to get up and get running, swimming, cycling or gyming.
7. Cook smarter
Find new ways to include legumes, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and wholegrain cereals in your diet as well as oily fish – they’re a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which boost your good cholesterol.
8. Drink more water
Hydration is key when it comes to keeping your body working properly (we’re about 60% water after all). Plus, hauling a full water bottle around adds to your daily workout!
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