The world marked World Heart Day on September 29 with the theme ‘Share the power’. The World Heart Federation picked this theme to encourage you to share how you power your heart.
The heart though the size of a palm is the engine room of the body. This organ is critical to whether a person lives or dies, and therefore should not be treated with levity.
In Nigeria, stories are rife of persons who have slumped and died without any prior case of illness. As a superstitious nation, people readily pointed fingers at their ‘enemies’; but the truth of the matter is that many of these deaths could be prevented if we all pay needed attention to our hearts.
Did you know that age really has very little to do with whether a person experiences heart failure or not? Oh yes! While older persons are more prone to heart-related illnesses, young people die every day because they neglect the health of their hearts. The question for you is: how well do you care for your heart?
Here are 6 ways to care for your heart
Eat a Healthy Diet
At every turn, we are presented with arrays of unhealthy yet delicious meals. Life’s hustles and often times plain neglect cause most of us to opt for the quick and unhealthy foods rather than take time to actually make healthy meals. It is easier to grab sausages (gala) and coke in traffic when hungry, rather than apples or grapes.
But easy doesn’t cut it in ensuring a long and healthy life. Make the conscious effort to go for raw veggies, fruits, and healthy meals/snacks each time the hunger pang hits. Check the food label when you buy grocery and avoid going for processed foods. If you can successfully eat healthier meals for one month, it becomes a habit. Why not try it for the health of your heart.
It may sound cliché but exercises are one way to power your heart. Step, march, jog in place, jump ropes, dance…. Just move. Take the stairs instead of elevators. Stand more than you sit. Throw in a couple of strength, cardio and core conditioning exercises as often as you can. You don’t have to go to the gym for one hour to get in a good workout. 15-20 minutes may be all you need daily.
Control Your Cholesterol
Eating foods high in saturated fat, trans fat or cholesterol can cause high blood pressure. To help check your cholesterol level, eat foods low in saturated and trans fat. Some examples are lean chicken or turkey( skins removed), vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products and whole grains (think oats).
Do you smoke? If yes, for the health of your heart, it’s time to stop. Here is a four-step quit trick from www.uwhealth.org to help you let go of the cigarettes
Day 1, cut the number of cigarettes you smoke by half
Day 3, reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke by another half
Day 5, cut your smoking by yet another half
Quit day…. Really stop on this day.
Drink more water, at least 8 glasses of water daily. Take a water bottle with you always and try to stay hydrated as much as you can. If drinking plain water bores you, try slicing some yummy fruits like strawberries, lime, lemon or even pineapples to sweeten the water a bit.
Get Yearly Checkups
Your heart is as healthy as you make an effort to have it be. Each year, schedule to check your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels with your physician. Follow any suggestions he/she may give you and make sure to get in touch with them immediately you notice anything strange about your body.
You live life only once. Make it a priority to live life to the fullest by consciously caring for your heart.
Shocking fact: It is predicted that by 2030, almost 23.6 million people will die from a type of heart disease globally – Source