How to Maintain and Look after Your Heart

July 30, 2012

Keeping your heart fit and healthy should be central to everyone’s life. Cardiac failure is not linked with a specific time or age in one’s life but rather how you care and nurture your heart.

Things such as poor diet, lack of exercise and high levels of stress can put you in a high risk zone for cardiovascular problems such as a heart attack or stroke. There are steps that you can take to prevent this and ways in which you can take care of your cardiovascular system to improve your general health and wellbeing.

~bEating ‘heart-wise’~
Two elements that are critical to keeping your cardiovascular system healthy is making sure you reduce the cholesterol and triglycerides levels in your body by maintaining a low carbohydrate and sugar free diet. Eating foods that are high in fibre can help to lower your blood cholesterol such as oatmeal, dried beans and peas, green vegetables and low GI whole-grain breads. One can also eat antioxidant foods such as berries, red grapes, tomato juice, fruits and onions which help to cleanse your system.

Best way is really to cut out saturated and trans fats, which are generally non beneficial to your heart. That means cutting out all the commercially prepared foods such as fried foods, salad dressings, cake mixes or microwave popcorn.

Rather opt for home-made dressings with Extra Virgin Oil and lemon juice and prepare your food as ‘freshly’ as you can. Increasing your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids to three times a week also helps to reduce triglyceride levels in your blood and reduces blood clots. It is important to reach and maintain a good body weight, and try to keep your insulin and blood sugar levels as normal as possible.

As much as it is beneficial to have a healthy diet, one must also make sure that you are taking in enough water. A glass of water before going to bed, according to the Manna Insulin Program, avoids a heart attack or stroke.

~bExercise Regularly~
Before you rush off and start running marathons make sure that you make an appointment with your doctor for a check-up.
You can also start by thinking of ways in which you can increase your physical activity like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Slowly progress to exercising to at least 30 minutes every alternate day and aim for a 30 minute walk every day with at least three-20 minutes cardiovascular workouts.

~bGet Enough Sleep~
By depriving your body of sleep you increase your heart rate and blood pressure, which could lead to hypertension. It is critical to let your body revitalize with 6 – 8 hours of sleep per night. If you
don’t sleep enough during the night you tend to crave carbohydrates the next day, which you should avoid on a low-carbohydrate diet for a healthy heart.

~bCardio Care~
It is vital that you make protecting your cardiac health a regular habit. Ensure this by making screening appointments with your doctor or cardiologist. Depending on which Selfmed option you are on, cardio care is covered in the same manner as any other doctor’s consultation.

MedXXI, Selfsure, MedElite and Selfmed 80% options vary in what they cover, so be sure to check with our experts to ensure you are benefiting from your specific scheme.

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