Habits for a Heart Healthy Lifestyle

Heart disease is a top killer worldwide -- but our lifestyle choices can go a long way toward reducing our risk. We round up the basics to living well.

BY: Elizabeth Rogers of 50Plus.com

Woman resting in grass
 

Heart disease is a top killer worldwide -- but our lifestyle choices can go a long way toward reducing our risk. We round up the basics to living well. It may be the strongest muscle in your body, but your heart is still vulnerable to disease. Each year, cardiovascular disease claims over 17 million lives around the world. By 2030, that number could reach 23 million, according to the World Heart Federation. It’s one of the top causes of death worldwide — even in countries that have access to health care and prevention.

Medicine has come a long way preventing and treating cardiovascular disease and saving lives, but we have to do our part too. Lifestyle choices can make a difference in how long and how well we live. Here’s what experts say we should be doing to live a heart-healthy lifestyle. Enjoy a healthy diet We often hear that this or that food is good for the heart, but you don’t need to load up on super foods. Experts still say the best way to get those beneficial good fats and essential nutrients is through eating a healthy and varied diet.

Eating well shouldn’t feel like deprivation with heart healthy foods like salmon, nuts, olive oil, legumes, lean meats and low-fat dairy. Foods that are high in fibre also help lower cholesterol. And dare we say eat more fruits and vegetables? They’re packed with essential vitamins and nutrients we need for good over all health — like antioxidants, beta carotene and vitamin C, to name a few. We know what foods shouldn’t be staples in our diet: bad fats (like saturated fats and trans fats), processed foods and foods high in sugars and salt. These foods can contribute to weight gain, unhealthy cholesterol levels, glucose intolerance and chronic inflammation in the body — all of which take a toll on the heart.

Continued on page 2: Happy Heart »

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