Heart Disease (which includes strokes and other cardiovascular diseases) still remains the number one cause of death – and when you think about that statistic, it is pretty chilling as there are more deaths to heart disease than all forms of cancer combined!
Heart disease is also known as the “Silent Killer”, as without medical checkups, often the first sign of this is a heart attack and in most cases this is too late. Yes we can go about regular checkups and doctor visits, but quite often they aren’t regular enough or good enough for that matter. I mean let’s face it we’re all guilty of it – How often do you go to the doctor unless you have cold or flu? A bad fall? Or even suffering from cardiac arrhythmia? (Irregular heart beat). Exactly – hardly ever!
My point is, it’s not just about scheduling regular checkups just as you would book your car in for service. It’s about embracing a healthy “active” lifestyle – incorporating nutrition and physical activity together (a recipe that combats most of life’s diseases and stresses).
Super foods for Heart Health
Fatty Fish: Salmon, mackerel and sardines top the list for containing copious amounts of Omega-3, known for lowering the risks of cardiac arrhythmia and atherosclerosis (plaque build-up in the arteries).
Oats: Are very high in soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol. They act like a sponge in the digestive tract and absorb cholesterol so it is eliminated from the body and not absorbed into the blood stream.
Berries: Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and most other berries contain compounds called flavonoids (which are antioxidants essentially) and they have a direct effect upon lowering blood pressure. A study was done on a group of people who incorporated 3 portions of blueberries into their weekly diets and in turn were 32% less likely to experience a heart attack, compared to those who ate less.
Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamias all contain a fiber that is good for your heart. They also are very high in vitamin E, which helps to lower the “bad cholesterol”. A previous thought was that nuts were avoided as they contained higher amounts of fat, but recent studies have shown that people who eat nuts on a daily basis are leaner than those who don’t.
Broccoli, Spinach and Kale: When it comes to any form of health you really can’t go wrong with vegetable and in particular your “greens”. Green vegetables are especially high in carotenoids, which are high in antioxidants, cleansing your body from potentially harmful compounds. They also contain high amounts of fiber and tons of vitamins and minerals (“micronutrients”). Kale has one further benefit containing Omega-3 fatty acids.
Supplements for Heart Health
The top 5 recommended supplements for heart health:
1. Omega-3 (dosage 1,000mg per day)
2. Vitamin D (1,000 IU per day)
3. Turmeric – Recent studies have shown huge benefits for its “anti-inflammatory” benefits, which have been linked to reducing the effects of heart disease.
4. Garlic – Reduces cholesterol
5. Cocoa powders/Dark chocolate – high in flavonoids, (antioxidants) which lower blood pressure
Activity for Heart Health
Unfortunately there is no shortcut to get your “cardio’ in whilst remaining strapped to your desk, you simply have to go out there and earn it!
Whilst’ some find physical activity a chore others live for it and can’t sleep until they have had a “right sweat”. For those who are part of the fitness industry and exercise and play sport regularly understand this concept, however it still seems to baffle the 95% of “desk jockeys” who will put it off and find any Hollywood diet or shortcut to sweating those excess calories out.
Recommended Activity levels by the AHA (American Heart Association):
For Overall Cardiovascular Health:
For Lowering Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
Fitness First – Motor City Dubai