s previously mentioned in one of our other articles, February is Heart Health Month. You hopefully found the information in that article helpful and of interest but we thought before the month came to an end, we would offer you a little more information.
These seven mistakes are likely to put your ticker at risk so it might be worth taking a quick read and making sure that you fix any behaviors that might elevate your chances of heart disease now.
Don’t just think that the 20 a day smoker is the only one at risk, having an occasional cigar or vaping all have the same degree of risk for your heart as having the odd cigarette. Nicotine has been shown to tighten coronary arteries and the effect is almost immediate. There is also no ‘small’ dose of nicotine and there is no threshold below which you are ok. If you stop smoking right this minute, and you don’t already have coronary artery disease, within two years you can reduce your heart attack risk to what it would have been had you never smoked at all.
#2 Skipping Your Daily Walk
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise, or 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. Don’t confuse exercise with having to go to the gym, as long as you get up and move and increase your heart rate your heart won’t mind whether you are at the gym or not.
#3 Saying It’s Ok To Help Yourself To An Extra Cookie
One of the biggest health issues as we age is the gradual gaining of an extra pound or two every year. Before you know it you have tipped the scales into obesity. Science has shown that weight loss through healthy eating is more successful than trying to lose weight from increased exercise.
#4 Eating Dinner From A Box
No matter what the label states, food from bags and boxes are more likely to increase your percentage of fat and ultimately increase your weight. There is no substitute for whole foods and cooking with fresh ingredients. An overall healthy eating plan includes a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry, fish, nuts, legumes and nontropical vegetables oils.
#5 Not Eating Enough Veggies
There is no substitute for fresh vegetables. To ensure you get enough don’t just include them at dinner time. Add vegetables to every meal, and yes that includes breakfast! Add spinach or thinly sliced brussels sprouts to scrambled eggs to start your day. Vegetable soup makes a great lunch and then there is always the asparagus and broccoli with your salmon for dinner. A scoop of hummus with carrots and celery make a great snack as do Kale chips. For natural blood pressure control potassium-rich foods such as sweet potatoes, spinach, beets, beans and yogurt are a great addition to your daily requirements.
#6 Losing Your Cool
We can all take the occasional bit of stress but chronic stress can certainly elevate your blood pressure. It would seem that chronic stress is also associated with obesity which ultimately puts more stress on our hearts. Anti-stress techniques are taking regular exercise, mediation, yoga, tai chi, massage, walking, creative hobbies, talking to friends and family about matters that may be troubling you. Try and eliminate whatever it is that triggers your stress levels even if it means just asking yourself the simple question “why am I so stressed about this?”
#7 Too Much Alcohol
There is certainly enough evidence to prove that a modest amount of alcohol daily or weekly can actually protect your heart from disease. Modest means one drink per day for women and two drinks for men but what often happens when we have a drink is that it leads to another and then another. Evidence suggest that no alcohol at all is better for your heart than too much. So if you can’t keep it ‘modest’ then abstain completely.