Tuesday, November 15, 2011

10 Steps to a Healthier Heart by Laura Ng

Cardiovascular disease is the top killer in the world. So, start knowing your risk factors and adopt a healthy lifestyle to protect your health. Here are the 10 tips for you.

1. Stay Hydrated - Our body is made up of about 50 - 70% of liquid, so it's crucial to make sure you maintain enough fluid in your body to help keep your body function normally. Drink 5 - 8 glasses of water daily depending on the weather and your body condition. After you exercise, you definitely need more water for replenishment.

2. Eat Healthy - Make it a point to consume more whole foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, whole grains etc. Meat contains toxins, bacteria and antibiotic residues that can pose risk to your health. So, reduce your meat intake, or even better, remove it totally for a better heart health. Go vegetarian.

3. Exercise - Working out can strengthen your internal organs, especially heart. Start by doing some simple stretching exercises in the morning for 15 minutes, then progressively raise the intensity level to cardio state. Make it a habit and work out at least 3 - 5 times a week.

4. Watch Your Fat Intake - Keep your cholesterol down by eating foods low in bad saturated fat like all animal and most vegetable oils out there. Good fat like flaxseed oil, olive oil and coconut oil promote good health. Don't think that eating lean meat will save you from the disease, it won't. Include more whole foods in your daily diet.

5. Lower Your Salt Intake - Lower your blood pressure by reducing your salt intake. It gives your kidney less workload too.

6. Stop Smoking - How cool is smoking to you? When you get admitted to hospital and start taking 17 different medicines per day, you'll know it it's not cool at all. Smoking not only harms your lung, but the rest of your organs as well. You get clogged arteries more easily than those who do not smoke. Quit smoking and lead a risk-free life starting now.

7. Maintain a Healthy Weight - If you don't eat healthily, very easily you'll fall prey to weight gain. Overweight will put more load on your heart, raising the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Reduce your weight gradually by eating more low-calorie foods like vegetables. Remember to factor in exercises for better fat loss effect.

8. Stay Motivated and Disciplined - Cravings for junk food and / or cigarette can make you lose your grip easily. Always stay health-conscious and urge yourself back on track to fight those temptations.

9. Track Your Progress - Getting positive results from weight loss and quitting smoking will keep you motivated and stay on track. So, track your progress regularly.

10. Regular Check-ups - Make an appointment with your doctors every 6 months to get your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels checked. This will help you detect symptoms early.

All in all, watch your diet, adopt healthy habits and lead an active lifestyle. This is the only way to keep your heart healthy and extend your life.