The human heart is an amazing organ. It is our pacemaker and the keeper of our life force. It is a very strong muscle responsible for pumping anything between 6,000 to 7,500 l of blood a day. All this power and the average human heart is about the size of a fist. So, if you close your fist, that is probably the size of your heart. Not a very big organ but one with a very important function.
Yet, heart disease is one of the most common conditions of our modern lives. In 2019, 17.9 million people died from cardiovascular disease, 32% of all global deaths. However, it is a preventable disease according to the world health organization (WHO):
“Most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by addressing behavioral risk factors such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet and obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol.”
So, what does it mean?
Small changes in your daily routine can make all the difference in the long-term health of your heart.
Here are some tips to help you keep your heart healthy.
1. Stay within a reasonable daily calorie limit. It is important to have an overall understanding of what foods you are eating and how much energy they contribute, while calory counting can be a nuisance, it is important to get a picture of what is a reasonable portion in your daily meals. If you find it difficult to measure foods or you are not sure how much is enough, you can consider getting a food scale so you can weigh your food until you can learn to judge portions on your own. If you don’t want to use a scale, you can find portion size guides online. This can be a little tedious at first but please do not be discouraged, once you learn portion sizes you will have a new skill to help you make conscious decisions about your health.
2. Cut back on the following:
• Red meat.
• Sugary foods and drinks.
• Saturated and trans-fats. Use healthier oils and sprays like olive or canola oil.
• Sodium. Limit yourself to 2,300 milligrams (approximately one teaspoon a day) or less daily; 1,500 milligrams a day should be the max if you want to lower blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about whether you should use a salt substitute.
• Processed foods or canned foods.
3. Eat a variety of food that includes:
o Fruits and vegetables, especially those that are high in potassium, like bananas, raisins, and oranges.
o Whole grains
o Fish and lean meats
4. Get plenty of fibre. A fibre-rich diet has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes as well as lower blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, lower blood sugar, and a healthy weight. Most adults need 20-30 grams a day. Great sources are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans. If you can’t get enough from food, a fibre supplement might help. Check with your doctor about the type you should try.
5. Stay Active. Exercise helps the heart in many ways. Exercise works like a beta-blocker to slow down the heart rate, it improves the muscles’ ability to extract oxygen from the blood, reducing the heart’s need to pump faster to get blood to the muscles, and reduces the stress hormone. You can try some of the following activities; resistance training (strength work), aerobics, stretching, flexibility and balance exercises.
6. Supplement: Supplementing for your heart health is important. Potassium helps to regulate the heartbeat and zinc is present in every cell of the body including the heart. Researchers are discovering more and more important aspects of zinc for the heart. Zinc helps to keep the integrity of the cell, keeping the cells in your heart healthy. It also helps to regulate cortisol secretion which is the stress hormone.
Overall, the health of your heart is in your hands. Cardiovascular disease is aggravated and many times caused by lifestyle. If you have a family history of heart disease taking these steps becomes even more important.
You may also want to try our Zinplex SE. It is packed with potassium, zinc and many other beneficial vitamins and minerals to keep your heart beating happily!
Let’s give this amazing muscle a little help!