Reduce Your Risk of Heart Attack With Seven Heart-Healthy Tips
Author by Natasha Turner
With New Year’s just a couple months away, it won’t be long before many people begin their resolutions to improve their diet, drop their cholesterol, exercise more or shed the holiday pounds. There are, however, seven simple tips that you can incorporate right away to boost your heart health and get a jump start on your wellness goals before suffering any potential holiday setbacks.
1. Minimize your intake of bad fats while increasing your intake of healthy fats — Bad fats are those labeled saturated or hydrogenated, vegetable oil, corn oil, shortening, margarine and cottonseed oil, as well as those in red meat, dairy products and peanuts. Healthy fats are fish oil, olive oil, canola oil, hemp oil, coconut oil and borage oil. Small amounts of butter are recommended over margarine.
2. Try soy — Soy products are very beneficial for heart health as they have been found useful in reducing cholesterol levels. However, limit this to once a day or completely avoid soy if you find it triggers gas, bloating or digestive distress.
3. Include garlic, ginger and onions in your meals — These herbs are beneficial for circulation, as is cinnamon.
More heart-healthy tips.
4. Increase potassium, limit sodium — Increasing your intake of potassium while limiting sodium can reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, cantaloupes and avocados.
5. Become conscious of cholesterol — The best foods that are useful for reducing cholesterol include oat bran, apple pectin (as in applesauce), flaxseed, millet, garlic, turmeric and fiber from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Believe it or not, it’s more likely the carbohydrates in your diet, rather than the fat, which is raising your cholesterol. Therefore, I recommend limiting your consumption of refined carbohydrates in white processed flours, pastries, muffins and other baked goods as well as the sugar in candies, desserts and chocolate to once a week.
6. Keep inflammation in check — You can do this simply by increasing your intake of legumes as a source of vegetable protein, along with fish and chicken for animal protein. Because of the high saturated fat content, red meats should be limited to once or twice a month. Maintaining a dietary balance of 35% carbohydrate, 35% protein and 30% healthy fat will help to promote the production of anti-inflammatory compounds called good eicosanoids, which are beneficial in the reduction of hardening of the arteries.
7. Get moving! 30 Minutes, Three Times a Week — The American Heart Association has added lack of exercise to the list of major risk factors for heart disease. The other risk factors are smoking, high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Exercise not only helps fight heart disease — sedentary people who add a little exercise to their daily routines also reduce their risk of osteoporosis, breast and colon cancer, depression, anxiety and stress.
Ideally, you should exercise 3-5 times a week for 30 minutes within your target heart rate. But health benefits can be had from simply accumulating 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, such as stair climbing, walking to work or gardening. For optimal aesthetic results and to reverse the signs of aging, you should incorporate short, intense weight training circuits 2-3 times a week. Resistance training, or weight lifting, is an important component of a good fitness program because it increases your strength, decreases body fat and helps improve blood cholesterol levels.
If this sounds daunting, why not consider personal training?