Heart diseases are one of the leading causes of death in the world. In fact, it’s the second leading cause of death in Canada only after cancer with 1.6 million Canadians report suffering from some form of heart disease[i]. And this is could be due to an unhealthy diet, family history, or simply ageing. But it can also be from leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
Try these tips for a healthy change.
According to a publication by Harvard Health, here are a few lifestyle strategies to employ to protect your heart and feel better.
1. Don’t Smoke
Smoking cigarettes, cigars, or even pipes have always been linked to detrimental health effects for your lungs, but they’re actually equally bad for just about every organ in your body, including the heart. There are chemicals in tobacco that damage blood cells, heart function, and blood vessel structure—all of which contribute to the increased risk of atherosclerosis, the build-up of plague. The narrowing of your arteries can spread to ones directly connected to the heart, leading to chest pain, heart attack, heart failure, arrhythmias, or even death[ii].
2. Be Active
Exercise is a crucial part of staying healthy, but research has also suggested sitting for long periods of time is deleterious for your health regardless of physical activity[iii]. If you have a sedentary desk job, make sure you’re taking frequent breaks to walk around. Researchers found that amongst those who sat the most, there was a 147% increase in cardiovascular events and a 90% increase in death based on observational studies that included about 800 000 people[iv].
3. Alcohol in Moderation
Studies have actually shown that one drink or fewer for women and two drinks or fewer for men can offer some protection against heart disease. But anything more than that, especially heavy drinking, can increase the risk of issues even beyond heart health, like ulcers, liver disease, and even cancer. Regular or high alcohol intake can lead to heart muscle diseases, high blood pressure, and arrhythmias.
4. Eat Healthy
Nourishing your body with the right nutrients can help decrease the risk of heart diseases. Opt for a diet that is low in trans and unsaturated fat, added sugar, and preservatives, and high in omega-3 fatty acids, whole foods, and lots of fruits and vegetables. For more details, read our blog on foods to eat and avoid for a healthy heart.