World Heart Day 2017

How to protect your heart

The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop cardiovascular disease. Although it is not possible to change all risk factors, you can change all behavioral risk factors.

Here are a few tips on how to control those risk factors and protect your heart:

  • A healthy diet is low in sugar and saturated fats but is rich in fibers from fruits and vegetables. It includes whole grains, nuts, and white meat, such as chicken and fish.
  • Be physically active: exercise regularly, at least twice a week, either aerobic or strength training.
  • Avoid tobacco.

Having a healthy diet will help you manage weight, which will help keep your heart healthy. A healthy diet doesn’t mean that you cannot eat red meat, sugar or fried foods. You can still eat these, but with moderation and in lesser amounts. Type 2 diabetes can be managed and even prevented by having a healthy diet.

The old saying goes: exercise is the best remedy. It has much truth in it and even if you don’t exercise, you may be physically active. Physical activity includes playing sports, playing outdoor games, taking the stairs, riding a bike, walking regularly, and doing some household chores. A simple exercise to maintain health that is highly recommended by doctors is walking at moderate to fast pace for 30 minutes at least twice a week. It is never too late to start exercising! Being physically active will reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease and improve your overall health. If you have not exercised in a long time, have your heart health checked and seek professional orientation.

If you smoke, be aware that you are increasing not only your risk to develop cardiovascular disease, but also increasing the risk of everyone around you when you smoke. Many non-smokers, including children, suffer or even die from second-hand tobacco smoke. Stop smoking will reduce your chances of having cardiovascular disease, but it takes some years to have the benefits. So the sooner you stop, the sooner you will reduce your risk.