How To Keep Your Heart Healthy

According to WHO (World Health Organization), ischaemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, accounting for a combined 15.2 million deaths in 2016. These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years. And growing…

There are about 160,000 kilometers of arteries, veins and capillaries in your body. They have very important tasks like, among others, carrying oxygen and nutrients to our cells and waste and carbon dioxide away from the cells.

When these blood vessels are blocked, we are exposed to a cardiovascular accident.

Arteriosclerosis is a serious cardiovascular disease in which atheromatous plaques build up inside the arteries and end up obstructing or blocking them.

Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to all parts of the body.

Atheroma plaques are made of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances that are found in the blood. Over time these plaques harden and narrow your arteries.

The flow of oxygen-rich blood in your body is reduced. This can lead to serious problems, including heart attack, stroke and even death.

Arteriosclerosis is the number one cause of death in the US and in many other countries and most of the causes are absolutely preventable.

The risk factors involved are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Saturated fats
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Smoking
  • Hereditary factors

People with overweight and diabetes have the highest risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

The worst type of fat is one that is the one we found around the waist.

If you want to significantly reduce your chances of developing arteriosclerosis, keep an eye on the ratio between your waist and your hip (measure of your waist/measure of your hip). If it is above 0.8, the risk of developing arteriosclerosis is considerably higher.

As a rule, the waist of the man should not exceed 102 cm (40 “) and that of the woman, 88 cm (35 “).

Experts in cardiovascular health worldwide agree unanimously that, to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood circulation problems, it is vital:

  • No Smoking
  • Control cholesterol and blood pressure
  • Exercise every day
  • Maintain a healthy weight through a healthy, balanced and correct nutrition.
  • Make sure you get antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids through food (fruits, vegetables, fish) and with the help of nutritional supplements.
  • Practice any form of aerobic exercise every day (running, cycling, swimming).
  • Rest and sleep the necessary hours
  • Drink the correct amount of water needed each day.

Exercise Your Heart

The best type of exercise for the cardiorespiratory system is aerobic. The kind of exercise which requires oxygen for its maintenance.

Performing a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise every day (running, cycling, swimming) with moderate intensity helps keep our cardiovascular system in top condition.

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More about it in 11 Benefits of Being Active

Hydrate Your Heart

Water carries nutrients, oxygen and glucose to the cells, supplying energy.

It makes the joints more flexible and helps strengthen the muscles, including the heart muscle.

It regulates body temperature and digestion, and helps eliminate toxins.

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If you want to know more, you can read Is Drinking Water Really THAT Important?

Feed Your Heart

  • Do not ever skip breakfast.
  • Make 5 or 6 small meals a day.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and foods rich in vegetable protein.
  • Choose the vegetables that have more color (more nutrients).
  • Eat more fish and seafood (omega-3), and less red meat.
  • Minimize the use of saturated fats and trans fats.
  • Drastically reduce salt consumption.
Age RDI Omega-3 (g)
0-12 months 0.5
1-3 years 0.7
4-8 years 0.9
9-13 years 1  (girls), 1.2  (boys)
+ 14 years 1.1  (women) y 1.6  (men)
Pregnancy 1.4
Lactation 1.3
Food Omega-3 (g/100g)
Flax oil 57
Rapeseed oil 9.6
Soy oil 7.3
Walnuts 7.47
Mackerel 2.8
Sardine 2.3
Herring 1.81
Salmon 1.8
Anchovy 1.47
Trout 1.3
Tuna 1.2
Crab 1.1
Cod 0.26
Sole 0.10
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Here´s a couple of posts that will explain further…

How YOU Can Build Your Own Balanced Diet

How To Get More Beneficial Fats Into Your Diet

10 Good Reasons To Eat Hummus

Hummus is a mixture of boiled chickpeas, tahina (sesame paste), olive oil and lemon juice, among other things. You can personalize the recipe and add different ingredients to your own taste.

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There are many reasons to eat hummus:

1. The most important thing is that it is an easy way to take legumes. Legumes are a great source of protein and they should be present in your family´s diet at least two or three times a week.

2. Preparing hummus is fast and easy and it doesn´t need cooking. It is ideal when you don´t have time to cook, or you just don´t feel like it. Your kids will have fun helping you.

3. The mixture of chickpeas and tahina provides quality proteins. Sesame is rich in methionine, an essential amino acid present in very small amounts in legumes so the ingredients complement themselves quite well.

4. Hummus contains monounsaturated fats, from olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, from chickpeas and sesame. This makes it a heart-healthy food, which will also help lower cholesterol levels. By the way, it has a moderate energy value: 150-200 kcal / 100 g.

5. Smashed chickpeas make the legume much more digestive so your body will assimilate the nutrients more efficiently. And if you add a few tablespoons of yogurt, the digestibility will increase even more.

6. Hummus provides fiber, from chickpeas and sesame. This will help you reach your recommended daily intake of 25 to 40 g/day.

7. It contains calcium: sesame provides about 150 mg / 100 g and chickpeas 120 mg / 100 g. So it is a good dish for children and women (especially pregnant, lactating or over 35 years old) who need extra dose of this mineral.

8. Lemon juice provides vitamin C and its preservation power from the rest of the vitamins on the plate.

9. It is versatile: it can be an entree, a canape, garnish, crêpe filling, even cream to spread a sandwich.

10. It is a dish of affordable ingredients.

Oh… and it´s DELICIOUS!