How healthy is your heart?
It’s an important question, given the fact that heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most ethnicities in the United States.
If you’re White, African American or Hispanic, it’s No. 1; for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Asians or Pacific Islanders, heart disease is second only to cancer.
Unfortunately, many heart problems and conditions can run in families, which could put you at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease involves narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can cause a heart attack, chest pain or stroke.
Here’s the good news: Your body is designed to heal itself and it’s never too late to make healthy lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk for a variety of heath conditions, including heart disease.
Let’s start by talking about smoking. Don’t do it! Smoking is one of the leading risk factors for coronary heart disease. Smoking also reduces good cholesterol (HDL), raises blood pressure, and causes plaque to build in the arteries; all of which can cause increased stress on your arteries and lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It also can lay the foundation for a host of other deadly health conditions.
Here are some other great ways to reduce your risk of heart disease:
#1 Stay active 30 minutes a day
#2 Eat more effectively
The key to preventing heart disease is to limit saturated fat — the kind that you find mostly in animal products. Opt instead for lean meats, fish, and vegetable sources of protein as much as possible. You should also try to avoid artificial trans fats.
Start reading labels, avoiding foods with “partially hydrogenated” oils. This type of fat — designed to increase the shelf life of foods — is sneaky. It is found in a variety of packaged snacks, fried foods, coffee creamers and more, and can really add up.
Try also to incorporate more avocado, Omega 3s, and nuts into your diet. You’ll want to consume more green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard greens, mustard greens, chard, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Research shows a strong link between a higher consumption of green leafy and cruciferous vegetables and lower risk of heart disease.
#3 Select the right supplement
Our supplement CVO uses krill oil (a superior Omega-3 fatty acid) and Co-enzyme Q10 to support healthy cholesterol. Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Try HERE.
#4 Plan your meals
Most of us don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen preparing healthy meals. That’s why we make it easy to make positive and powerful changes to your diet and prepare delicious, heart-healthy meals and treats. Our recipes have been tried, tested and recommended by our nutritionists. Don’t forget that how much you eat is almost as important as what you eat. Eating sensible portions of food is one important key to maintaining a healthy heart. Check out this seasonal option: Turkey and Sweet Potato Meatballs HERE.
#5 Manage your stress
Excessive stress can lead to a variety of health conditions. Research suggests it is not the actual stress that is unhealthy, it’s how you react to it. Learning how to better manage stress is important for people with demanding work and personal lives. Incorporating enjoyable activities and regular exercise into your schedule can be a great help.
A gratitude journal can be another effective way to help manage your stress. Every day, write down 2-3 things for which you are grateful. Writing them down is key. See how long you can go without repeating what you’re thankful for.
We’re also big fans of guided meditation. It’s easy to do and for many people it’s effective in reducing stress levels.
Don’t forget: Symptoms of a heart attack can vary, so if you ever feel chest pain, pain in your left arm, upper abdomen or between your shoulder blades, and/or experience dizziness or excessive perspiration, immediately seek emergency medical attention.