Have a heart

by Khushboo on February 17, 2011



From Valentine’s Day to national ‘Heart Health Month’, February is all about the hearts.  Fun fact: The heart is made up almost entirely of muscle and is strong enough to lift approximately 3,000 pounds- the weight of a compact car.  Oh and just to put it out there: women’s hearts beat faster than men’s hearts- BOO YAH!

 

Now for the not-so-fun part: Heart disease is the number one killer in the world. It kills more people than cancer in the USA. You might be slim, you might be fit, you might be young but that doesn’t say much about your heart.  Heart disease or even heart attacks do not usually occur spontaneously, but occur after a gradual build up.  I decided to blog about it because heart disease is one illness is that is close to my heart (no pun intended J).

  

 Lose your heart to love, not disease.  Some cases of heart disease are purely down to hereditary factors, which is a bummer.  But a majority of the time they are a result of lifestyle factors, which are in our hands to change.  Taking preventive steps is our own remedy.  I’m no expert by any means but based on my own personal research, here are some tips/reminders to keep your heart healthy:

  • Go for regular health check-ups including blood sugar level, blood pressure, and cholesterol level
  •  Watch your sugar levels
  •  De-stress: each day, set aside 15 minutes of me-time where you aren’t answerable to anyone/anything (phones included!)
  •  Lose weight to ensure your BMI stays under 25
  •  Stop smoking: sorry I’m still not convinced about the ‘cool factor’ that surrounds smoking.  By laying off the ciggys, you’ll not only reduce your risk of heart disease and lung cancer…you’ll also smell a hell of a lot better J
  •  Exercise your heart: while a light, 30-minute stroll may barely break a sweat and may seem pointless, any kind of cardio exercise strengthens the heart and increases its efficiency at pumping blood around your body: 30 minutes, 5 days a week…150 minutes per week…no excuses!

 

And for your biggest weapon:

  •  Eat heartily: eat more of fruits, vegetables, unrefined wholegrain products, low fat dairy products, and oily fish, unsaturated fats and less of salt, sugar, trans fat, hydrogenated oils, and saturated fats.  More specifically, here are foods to boost your heart health: 

  1. Salmon, herring, tuna, and mackerel’s high omega-3 content can help lower blood pressure, triglyceride levels
  2. Nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts
  3. Berries: rich in antioxidants and hearth-health flavonoids, they will help prevent inflammation and keeping blood vessels strong
  4. Dark chocolate….sa-weeet!  Maybe not as sweet as milk chocolate but they also contain flavonoids
  5. Flaxseeds are loaded with ALA, a fatty acid that may regulate blood pressure, blood fat, and inflammation
  6. Blueberries
  7. Legumes contain soluble fibers which lower cholesterol and maintain blood sugar levels
  8. Curry powder (can all the Indians stand up :lol:)
  9. B vitamins and antioxidants in spinach fight heart disease while its magnesium can help lower blood pressure
  10. Sage
  11. Red Wine and Grape Juice– a glass an evening, not a bottle 😉
  12. Crushed red pepper
  13. Ginger
  14. Peppermint for its soothing effect on internal muscles
  15. Oats– do I really need to big them up again 😉
  16. Nip those triglycerides in the bud with the monounsaturated fatty acids in Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Happy Heart Health Month <3!

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