Make these heart-friendly lifestyle changes to keep your ticker strong.
Yep, a healthy diet goes a long way in preventing cardiovascular disease! (Photo: pixelbliss / www.123rf.com)
1. How to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Maintain a healthy diet
Eat healthy to keep your heart healthy, so load up on wholegrains, vegetables and fruits. For instance, berries. Based on the Nurses’ Health Study in the US, eating at least three servings of these antioxidant-rich blueberries and strawberries a week could reduce the risk of heart disease by a third. And among women who ate at least two servings weekly, there was a “modest reduction in memory decline”, say researchers from Harvard University in the US.
There’s more good news if you like berries with yogurt. According to a study in the Nutrition Research journal, yogurt eaters who eat at least one serving a week have healthier diets and are less likely to be nutrient-deﬁcient. Researchers have also linked yogurt consumption to better health markers, including lower levels of triglycerides (a type of fat in blood) and blood glucose, as well as insulin resistance.
2. How to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Skip the bad stuff
Go easy on processed, high-salt and fatty foods as they can lead to high cholesterol and hypertension. If you need a snack, pass up the chips and go for these heart-healthy snacks instead.
3. How to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Don’t smoke
We hate to nag, but this habit constricts blood vessels (among other negative effects it has on your health).
4. How to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Keep calm
Stress is not good for your body, and that includes your heart. Manage stress through activities like yoga and meditation. Plus, here are some other fun ways to improve your heart health.
5. How to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Go for screenings
Every adult aged 18 years and above should check for cardiovascular risk factors at least once a year. Patients with diabetes, high blood pressure and long-standing kidney disease have an even higher risk for cardiovascular disease and are usually screened regularly by their doctors.
6. How to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease: Get your cholesterol levels tested
How often? At least once every ﬁve years − or more often if you’re over the age of 50 or have other risk factors. Heart attacks are dangerous in older women because more complications could arise from an existing health problem, says Dr Goh Ping Ping, senior consultant in echocardiology at Mount Elizabeth Medical Centre.
Sources: American Heart Association, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and Health Promotion Board of Singapore