We are discussing a 4 week road to a healthier heart. These are daily health tips, a combination of food, nutrition, habits which you could include in your routine.
Move over chips and crisps and welcome heart-healthy nuts. Studies show that those who eat more than 5 ounces of nuts a week are 1/3 less likely to have either heart disease or a heart attack. And since nuts are high in fat and calories, moderation is recommended. It could silently add on weight, if you have them mindlessly.
Did you know, you should have around 2½ cups of veggies each day, and to achieve that one should aim to make veggies 50% of a daily meal. And even better, if you have a liking for kale, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage, which are a gold mine of antioxidants and other heart-saving phytochemicals.
Did you know, that just 2.5 hours of exercise a week (that’s a little more than 20 minutes a day) could reduce heart attacks by 1/3? That actually leads to prevent 285,000 deaths from heart disease in the United States alone, and practically eliminate type 2 diabetes.
As we suggested earlier, olive oil is ideal for dunking your bread, but if you can’t live without a spread, pick one with cholesterol-lowering sterols. Studies suggest adding 2 g of these plant compounds to your daily diet can help lower your total cholesterol by about 10% — often within 2 weeks. That sounds miniscule, but it could translate to a 20% lower risk of heart disease.
Flaxseed is one of the leading sources of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. Studies indicate that adding flaxseed to your diet can reduce the development of heart disease by 46%, while helping to keep red blood cells from clumping together and forming clots that can block arteries. Just sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flaxseed a day on your yogurt, oatmeal, cereal, or salad. Easier still, buy it pre-ground and keep refrigerated, for easy storage.
Apart from the 20-minutes a day exercise, mentioned above, stretching exercises are also important. For active adults over 40, studies showed that they had 30% less stiffness in the arteries than non-active participants. Stretching for 10 to 15 minutes a day may keep arteries pliable; affected by the elasticity of the muscles and tissue that surround them. Some gentle yoga moves could improve your flexibility.
One of the most amazing tip is the acceptance that 1 to 3 ounces of alcohol a day significantly reduces your risk of a heart attack. Unless you are at risk of high blood pressure, breast or other cancer, you can safely have one alcoholic drink a day. A safer way to take alcohol is with dinner so you sip slowly. Also avoid a full pour in a large wine glass, it’s easily double what’s considered a healthy serving.