Eat A Well-Balanced Diet
Look after your heart and let it beat.
Start by enjoying a healthy nutritious diet according to the Food Guide Pyramid. It is the criterion to healthy eating and will help ensure that you're getting the nutritious goodness that your body needs and in the right proportions.
WELCOME TO THE FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID
Reduce Fat and Oil Intake
Use low-fat cooking methods like stir-frying, steaming, boiling, microwaving, etc.
Minimise foods high in saturated fats like lard, ghee, sausages, coconut milk, coconut oil and processed meats.
Prefer unsaturated fats and oils, eg vegetable-based cooking oils and margarines.
Limit cholesterol intake by consuming less organ meats, brain and egg yolk.
Eat More Fibre
Fibre helps lower blood cholesterol levels and prevents arteries from clogging up. Fibre-rich foods also supply vitamins and minerals for the heart and body.
So eat more fibre-rich foods daily like legumes, whole grain cereals/products, fruits and vegetables.
Take Minimum Salt
Reduce the amount of salt in cooking. Try not to add salt for taste unless necessary. Use herbs, spices and lemon to flavour your foods. Prefer fresh foods to processed/canned foods as the latter may be high in salt.
Take control of your health by maintaining a healthy body weight (BMI= 18.5-24.9).
If you feel you're on the heavy end of the weighing scale, then make a firm decision to lose weight gradually and stick to it. Reduce your calorie intake and increase physical activity.
Be patient and your heart will reap the rewards in the long run.
Stop Smoking !
Let's get to the bottom line. Smoking could be killing your heart.
There are many ways to kick the habit:
Using nicotine patches
Progressive reduction techniques
Chewing gum and so on
But these methods will only work if you really want to become smoke-free and to stay that way permanently.
Doing the household chores (washing the car, mopping, etc) or walking instead of driving are moderate physical activities that benefit the heart. But it would be better if you could exercise at least for 20 minutes, three times a week.
Try it, your heart will love the difference.
Stress can increase levels of a hormone which increases blood pressure and heart rate. The stressful lifestyle has also been associated with higher blood cholesterol levels and compulsive eating behaviours.
Learn to manage stress by :
- Not turning small problems into major crises.
- Being organised and practising proper time management.
- Learning to relax (take up a hobby).
- Not turning to caffeine, nicotine or alcohol for relief.
- Cultivating good family and social relationships
- Seeking professional help if necessary.
ENJOYING A HEALTHY HEART FOR LIFE
You only have one heart and it's priceless, so take care of it.
For a healthy heart:
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Take more fibre.
- Reduce fat intake.
- Maintain healthy body weight.
- Lead an active lifestyle.
- Quit smoking.
- Manage stress.
- Attend periodic medical check-ups.