HOW TO KEEP YOUR HEART FIT
What we eat every day and our daily lifestyle as a whole goes a long way in affecting the condition of our hearts. The heart is the second most important organ in the body after the brain. This is why it is very important that we form a very healthy eating habit and pay a good attention to the condition of the heart. As at 2017, it was discovered by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the number 1 cause of death globally, more people die annually from CVDs than from any other cause and over three quarters of CVD deaths take place in low- and middle-income countries.
Here are few ways of keeping the heart fit:
- Eat foods that are free of unhealthy fats: fats is good for the body and needed in our diet but not every fat is healthy. This unhealthy fat is called ‘trans fat’. It increases the blood’s bad cholesterol and clogs the arteries preventing blood from flowing into the heart which causes stroke and heart attack. Cutting these unhealthy fats from our diet makes it easier for blood to flow through the arteries. These fats are often used in snacks, margarine, fried fast foods and baked foods. They are also found in animal sources such as pork, poultry with skin and beef fat. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid foods like this. Eat foods with healthy fats such as avocado, cheese, fish, nuts, coconuts and coconut oil.
- Avoiding sitting for too long: it has been discovered that extended periods of sitting has raised the risk of CVD by 14%. Excessive sitting slows down metabolism. Less fats are burnt by muscles and blood flows more slowly during long sits. This allows fatty acids clog the heart more easily. As much as you can, avoid sitting for long hours. Don’t sit at work all days and spend the rest of the evening sitting in front of the TV or computer. Even if you exercise everyday, you still stand the risk of CVD if you sit for too long.
- Sleep: those who sleep less than 6 hours daily have been discovered to have higher risk of CVDs in spite the age, weight, and even sex. It has also been discovered that men with severe sleep disorder usually end up developing congestive heart failure. Poor sleeping habits can put you at risk as well. Sleep increases blood supply and drops blood pressure.
- Avoid smoking: smoking causes fatty build up in the arteries. Studies have shown that cigarette smoking is the major cause of coronary heart disease which eventually leads to heart attack. It decreases the good cholesterol called HDL in the blood. Quit smoking and keep your heart safe.
Other ways of keeping the heart fit include controlling your weight and engaging in regular aerobic exercises like jogging, running and biking.