Despite decades of efforts, heart disease continues to be one of the biggest causes of death in the world. Millions of people succumb to it every year, and if the current trend of increasing waistlines and decreasing fitness continue, this number will only multiply manifold.
So what are the ways to protect yourself from heart disease?
The first thing anybody trying to keep his heart healthy needs to do is to monitor his diet. The kind of food you eat has a direct impact on the health of your heart. Cut down on foods laden with fat. This includes all junk food (even if its advertised as “fat free” or “low calorie). Also, cut down on your sodium and sugar intake. Once again, the culprits are the fast food chains where it has been a time honored tradition to improve the taste of bad food by drowning it in fat and salt. So if you want to keep your heart healthy, avoid McDonalds and Pizza Hut and Burger King like the plague.
Instead, eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, etc. Cut down on the amount of red meat you eat. Don’t worry about carbohydrates or proteins; just make sure you get both from healthy sources. Not fatty hamburgers, but whole wheat, home cooked pastas and salads.
The second thing you need to do is exercise regularly. This is a piece of advice that has been circulating for years, yet the percentage of people suffering from obesity continue to increase year after year. It can be quite difficult to pull onself from the couch and over to the gym, but in the end, for a healthy heart, exercise is a must. Its all a matter of forming habits – once you get used to going to the gym and working out, chances are, you will find it hard to live without it.
Lastly, cut down on the amount of alcohol you consume. Alcohol is a big contributor to heart disease. A drink or two a week is fine, but if you go beyond that, it will have some health repercussions. While smoking is already on a downward trend, it helps to keep in mind that smoking contributes to a weak heart as much as alcohol or fatty foods. So cut down on this ‘vice’ too.
In the end, to protect yourself from heart disease, you must make some fundamental lifestyle changes. In the beginning, they might be difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it will become as much a part of you as your current lifestyle.