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.

Imagen de StockSnap en Pixabay

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.

Imagen de rawpixel en Pixabay

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
Imagen de cattalin en Pixabay

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

6 Tips To Lose Weight On A Budget

When you think about starting a healthy, active lifestyle it may seem expensive and time consuming. This, of course is “the perfect excuse” to stay in your comfort zone and do nothing.

Of course, if you do nothing you will remain exactly as you are. This means that with time you might probably get fatter and your health may deteriorate.

So, forget about your excuses, read these tips and find out how you can lose weight on a budget

1. STOP BUYING EMPTY CALORIES

First of all let´s cut some expenses. Stop spending money on empty calories. By empty calories I mean all those foods and drinks that have very few nutrients but a lot of calories.

Examples: fast food, sodas, energy drinks, chips, candy bars, sweets, ice-cream, pastry… you know what I mean.

If you can´t cut them out of your life drastically, do it slowly and gradually. But do it.

2. EAT MORE HOME-MADE MEALS

If your daily activity forces you to have your lunch or any other meal (including snacks) in any place different than home, don´t let this circumstance mess with your health and/or weight loss goals.

Take your meals or snacks with you when you leave home. If you choose something to eat when you get hungry you are more likely to make poor choices.

Planning your meals will prevent you from making unhealthy choices.

When there is no way that you can manage to prepare and take your meals with you, use natural supplements (choose wisely, not all of them are good for your health). They are low in calories and packed with nutrients. And so much cheaper than eating out.

3. CHOOSE BUDGET-FRIENDLY PROTEIN SOURCES

Eating the right amount of protein is essential to lose weight but this doesn´t mean it has to be expensive.

Remember to have some protein in every food intake of the day.

Some options could be: canned tuna (no oil), all beans (especially soybeans), ground turkey…

4. FOLLOW THE SEASONS

Eat in-season fruits and vegetables instead of choosing expensive out-of-season imported or organic ones.

They will be ripe, delicious and full of nutrients, and you will save money.

5. STICK TO WHOLE FOODS

Most foods are much cheaper in less processed forms and they are often sold in larger packages that allow you to save even more money.

Also they are healthier than their processed counterparts.

Cheaper and healthier. WIn-win!

6. BUY FROZEN FRUITS & VEGGIES

Fresh fruits & veggies are only in season for few months a year and they are usually quite expensive.

Their frozen counterparts are almost just as nutritious, much cheaper and available all year round.

Also they are frequently sold in large bags, they are ready to use and they are easy to portion.

They will save you time and money.

How To Add More Fiber To Your Diet

In Tips For A Healthy Digestion we talked about the importance of fiber in your diet and how it not only improves your digestive functions but also improves your inmune system, your skin, your energy and positively affects your weight loss.

But… what kinds of fiber are there… and, more importantly, where can you get them?

There are two kinds of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

SOLUBLE FIBER

This type of fiber is made up of components that absorbe a lot of water, and can be found in legumes, in cereals and in some fruits.

  • It accelerates the intestinal transit.
  • It increases the volume and decrease the consistency of the feces.
  • It slows the emptying of the stomach and increases its distention thus prolonging the feeling of fullness.
  • It helps regulate blood glucose and cholesterol levels because it decreases the absorption of fats and sugars.

INSOLUBLE FIBER

It is composed of substances that retain little water and swell little. This type of fiber predominates in food like wheat bran, whole grains, some fruits & vegetables and in general in all nuts and seeds.

  • It cleans the intestinal walls like a natural brush.
  • It facilitates intestinal transit.
  • It prevents constipation.
  • It contributes to decrease the concentration and contact time of potentially carcinogenic substances with the colonic mucosa.

HOW TO INCREASE FIBER INTAKE

  • Eat whole fruits with skin more often than fruit juices.
  • Use whole fruit as a dessert.
  • Eat a variety of whole vegetables – cooked and raw – and eat them freely.
  • Use 100% whole grain breads, waffles, cereals, rolls, English muffins and crackers instead of those made with refined white flour.
  • Use corn tortillas rather than flour.
  • Use brown rice, wild rice, millet, barley, and cracked wheat as alternatives to white rice.
  • Add beans to main dish soups, stews, chili or salads.
  • If you have trouble meeting your fiber intake, you can use fiber supplements. But remember that fiber supplements don’t replace the healthy fruits, vegetables and whole grains that you should be consuming.