Look – we all need a healthy heart to live happily. You know it. I know it. Now, you’re probably reading all kinds of tips and do’s to stay healthy. A majority of people are under the blissful impression that heart disease happens only to the elderly. Yet, we read about young people suffering from heart attacks and “massive” cardiac arrest.
Can you prevent it?
Yes, to a large extent. But it all depends on the personal choices you make in your lifestyle as this affects your risk for heart attacks or strokes. How to make those little changes that will mean big benefits for you?
I am going to show you five ways to ruin your heart. And you, my intelligent one, can then figure out what NOT to do.
Smoke. Or be a smoker’s best friend
It is amazing how, in spite of escalating cigarette prices, warnings via ads, graphically explained outcomes of smoking and the ban on smoking in public places, people will continue to smoke. The bad news is, smoking is the worst thing you can do to your heart and lungs. And the good news is, this habit is completely reversible. Think about it. Quit. Quit smoking and passive smoking so you decrease your risk for heart disease.
Kick this butt. Or your friend’s. Same difference.
Gorge on groceries with trans fats
The supermarket has an entire section devoted to yummy looking pastries that are best before six or twelve months. What makes them stay “fresh” and tasty for so long? How come packaged snacks stay crunchy for months? The answer is (drumroll) trans fats. Trans fats are the villains that steer you away from fresh food and freshly baked stuff. They have zero nutrition value and, pardon my expression, screw up your cholesterol levels. What to do?
Say no to trans fats. Hey, at least avoid them as much as you can! By doing this, you can lower your risk for heart disease. When you shop, look for 0% trans fat on the packing.
Spice it up with Salt
If you cook, you probably add salt at the time of preparing your dish. You taste it later. With the side-effects. Switch to a low salt diet. It will not only lower your blood pressure, but also save you a panicky visit to the doctor. You know, salt is like makeup. You can survive without it. Instead of salt, try using garlic, pepper and oregano seasoning.
More of you to love
Crudely put, this is “become fat” No. That’s not “cute”. That’s gross. But easy. It is easy to gain weight when you enjoy processed food, huge servings and compete for the “couch potato of the year” award. At your cost. While adding the inches to your waistline and several layers of risk to your heart. Looking at it from another angle, none of us are immune to aging. As we grow older, our metabolism becomes slower. It gives us the heads up to watch what we eat and to stay active. Okay, no need to look so sad. Check your weight. If you need to lose some, take action. It will directly impact your blood pressure, blood sugar and your cholesterol. These three are pretty close pals and influence each other strongly. Shake off a few pounds. An easy way to do it is walk it off.
Forget your pills
If you happen to be on medication for something, skip them often. So what if they’re expensive or have side effects? Taking medication is boring right? Sigh. Medication is prescribed for a reason. To make things better. If you forget or willfully skip a dose, you lose not just the dose, but the benefit. This is particularly relevant to those on medication for diabetes. The bad news is heart disease does not announce itself. No band baja. Or even baraat. It is a silent killer. So if you’ve taken the trouble to consult a doctor, take your medicine.
Guilty of any of the above? This is your cue to stop, think, change direction and proceed.
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Vidya Sury keeps her heart (and her wallet) healthy, working as a Freelance Writer and Professional Blogger. She loves being mom to a teenager. When she’s not writing, drinking coffee or ginger chai, listening to music, reading or spring cleaning or having a good time with friends, she blogs at Going A-Musing, Coffee With Mi! and Your Medical Guide and tweets as @vidyasury