Healthy Heart Tips
The heart is a muscle and is special because it pumps blood around your body. The blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to your body. If your heart fails it can affect other parts of your body, which is why it’s important to look after your heart.
Every 90 minutes one New Zealander dies of heart disease. Cardiovascular (CV) disease accounts for 40% of deaths, many of which are premature and preventable.
Here are 9 tips to improve your heart health
- Check your Magnesium levels Your Magnesium levels can be checked by your Doctor however certain symptoms can reliably indicate if there is a deficiency. Restlessness, anxiety, irritation, poor sleep, muscle cramps or twitches, headaches and tiredness are all signs of magnesium deficiency. If you don’t have enough magnesium your heart may be struggling to work properly, which can mean that blood pressure and cholesterol levels can start to rise. Magnesium rich foods include raw spinach (a great swap for lettuce), pumpkin seeds, brazil nuts, mackerel, beans and lentils, brown rice, avocados, yogurt, bananas and dark chocolate.
- Replace animal fats with healthy oils Think of an old car that has been cleaned and serviced regularly with the best oils and lubricants. It is still as good as the day it rolled off the assembly line. Good oils, rich in omega 3, can lower cholesterol and inflammation. Studies have shown that fish oils reduce the risk of death after a heart attack by 50%! Good oils can be found in deep sea fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna) as well as avocados, nuts and olive or grapeseed oil. Our Healthy Heart pack is an excellent value pack for Magnesium and fish oil with CoEnzyme Q10.
- Check your diet against the Heart Foundation healthy heart food guide The old pyramid has been given a make-over to a new heart that shows the balance of foods to eat most of, eat some of and cut back on. The main change is that carbohydrates in breads, cereals and grains are now considered healthier to “eat some” rather than “eat regularly”. The Heart Foundation is a great resource for this and other information.
- Keep your body weight in the ideal range We can help you calculate your body mass index (BMI) to see how close you are to your ideal weight. It is also recommended to have a waist measurement of less than 88cm for women and 102cm for men.
- Be physically active This doesn’t mean you have to run marathons. Moderate physical activity for 30 minutes a day, even in 10 minute chunks, is enough to ensure you reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and keep fit.
- Be a non-smoker You are twice as likely to quit permanently with support rather than without support and if you use appropriate medication you are twice as likely to quit permanently. Get help form us in store or by contacting Quitline on 0800 778 778 for free and conﬁdential support and subsidised Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
- Manage stress Some ideas to cope with life’s challenges include taking one step at a time, practice positive self-talk, connect with others, do a little something that you enjoy every day and get help when you need it. Relaxation methods, meditation, yoga or going for a lovely walk along the beach can also help some people.
- Visit your doctor for a check up Males should go at age 45 and women at age 55 (unless you are Maori, from the Pacific or from the Indian sub-continent, or you have risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol – in which case men should be assessed for cardiovascular risk at age 35 and women at age 45).
- Join us On facebook and under Wellbeing Journey, join us in making small changes every week to a healthier lifestyle. We would love you to share your lifestyle changes, favourite recipes and tips by posting on facebook or commenting on the blogs.