13 Effective Ways TO Take Care of Your Heart
- Limit fat intake because dietary fat directly affects both the type and amount of fat in the blood. Choose lower-fat products; avoid greasy, fried and fatty foods; and limit the amount of fat added to foods. Prepared snacks and fast foods tend to be very high in fat.
- Choose better fats like olive oil, canola oil, avocado and nuts. Choose low fat dairy products and lean meats. Avoid trans fats, found in hydrogenated oils, some margarines, snack and packaged foods. Become good at reading labels.
- Almonds and walnuts may have cholesterol-lowering properties and are a good source of calories (and protein).
- Eat less sugar because when the body receives large amounts of sugar it processes them into triglycerides. Concentrated sugar is found in fruit juice(even pure), soft drinks, candy and sweets.
- Increase omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, flax seeds and walnuts. Eating fatty fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, sardines) twice a week has been shown to benefit heart health. Omega-3 supplements, usually salmon oil or a blend of fish oils (not liver oil), at a dose of 6 grams or more a day may decrease triglycerides. This amount can aggravate diarrhea or cause indigestion and may need to be decreased. Flax seeds or flax oil provide a vegetarian source of omega-3 fatty acids but do not seem to be as effective at lowering triglycerides. Be sure to tell your doctor if you are taking concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil pills, because at high doses they can thin your blood.
- Increase fibre, especially soluble fibre like psyllium, oats and legumes (dried peas and beans), to reduce cholesterol absorption and provide alternatives to sugars and meats. Eat more soy products, such as soy milk, tofu and soy beans. They are high in compounds called phytoestrogens, which reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease if you get enough. You need about 25 grams of soy protein a day,which is about 4 glasses of soy milk or 8 ounces of tofu.
- Limit alcohol to a couple of drinks per week because it directly increases triglycerides. Alcohol is also hard on the liver.
- Quit or cut back smoking because it is one of the most powerful risk factors for heart disease, and lung and other cancers.
- Cocaine has been shown to increase progression of heart disease and may increase the risk of having a heart attack.
- Exercise, especially aerobic/cardio exercise, helps reduce triglycerides in the blood, increase HDL cholesterol and improve cardiovascular fitness.
- Flavenoids, which are found primarily in fruits and vegetables, have a widerange of health benefits, including protection against heart disease. It is best to get them from colourful foods rather than supplements in order to get the wide range of beneficial nutrients found in the food.
- B12, B6 and folate lower homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine have been associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
- In some people, niacin is effective at reducing triglycerides and LDL cholesterol and increasing HDL cholesterol, but it can cause itching and skin flushing,as well liver toxicity and insulin resistance. Talk with your doctor about niacin before trying it on your own.
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