PLEASE BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR HEART
The heart is a hollow muscle that pumps blood throughout the blood vessels by repeated, rhythmic contractions.With each heartbeat, blood is sent throughout our bodies, carrying oxygen and nutrients to every cell. Each day, 2,000 gallons of blood travel many times through about 60,000 miles of blood vessels that branch and cross, linking the cells of our organs and body parts.
There are several risk factors for heart disease; some are controllable, others are not. Uncontrollable risk factors include:
- Male sex
- Older age
- Family history of heart disease
- Race (African Americans, American Indians, and Mexican Americans are more likely to have heart disease than Caucasians)
Still, there are many heart disease risk factors that can be controlled. By making changes in your lifestyle, you can actually reduce your risk for heart disease. What you can control is your diet, exercise, smoking, stress and regular tests. Here are five simple heart care tips you can easily follow starting today.
Eat Less Carbs: A diet high in carbohydrates contributes significantly to heart disease. Research has found out precisely, how cornflakes, white bread, french fries and similar foods containing high amounts of carbohydrates aggravate the probability of a heart disease. Arterial stress was observed in people who consumed foods with a high glycemic index such as cornflakes, sugar and french fries. It was discovered that foods having a high glycemic index made the brachial arteries swell for many hours.
Stop Smoking: Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. The American Heart Association has named cigarette smoking as the most dangerous of the modifiable risk factors. Overall, smokers experience a 70% greater death rate from heart and blood vessel disease than nonsmokers. Heavy smokers (twenty or more cigarettes per day) have a death rate two to three times greater than nonsmokers.
Exercise: There’s been a lot told about the benefits of exercise. All you need is 20 to 30 minutes of exercise that keeps your heart at 60% to 70% of your maximum heart beat rate. For adults that is about 110 beats per minute. Walking fast is helpful, not taking a stroll. The best thing is to jog or even run. Interval training has a number of benefits. This is one of the most simplest and powerful things one can do to keep the heart healthy.
Reduce Stress: More and more evidence suggests a relationship between the risk of cardiovascular disease and environmental and psychosocial factors. These factors include job strain, relationship issues and social isolation. Acute and chronic stress may affect factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, smoking, physical inactivity and overeating. Try to consciously observe when you are getting stressed and take steps to relax yourself. Deep breathing helps. Close your eves and take a deep breath. Inhale for 4-5 seconds and slowly exhale. Do this 3-4 times whenever you feel you are stressed.
Regular Checkups: Based on your family history, age and lifestyle, you may have to take additional care and frequent check-ups for your heart. Ask your doctor to check your cholesterol levels, to ensure that there is the right balance between LDL and HDL levels. Also have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure is also a major cause for heart disease.
Overall, maintain a healthy weight, eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol, low-carbohydrate diet. Weighing more than 30 percent over your ideal weight can double your risk for developing heart disease. Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats. Increase your intake of low-fat foods. Eat a lot of brightly colored vegetables, fruits and whole grain. Avoid foods rich in sugar.[Click here] to download the PDF version of our “Please be Careful with Your Heart” e-newsletter.