These five habits can save your heart!
Crushing chest pain, sudden loss of consciousness, ambulance, emergency department, heart attack! Each and every day, this common scenario presents at most hospitals throughout the world.
After all, heart attack is the number-one killer globally. “How did this happen so suddenly? Yesterday he/she was absolutely fine and strong. What happened between yesterday and today?” The time bomb finally explodes. However, it did not happen between yesterday or today. For months and years and possibly decades, the slow progression towards the explosion has been building up. And all the while possibly silent and unknown to him/her. Yet in most instances, it is due to his/her own lifestyle choices.
There is so much you can do to ensure this doesn’t happen to you!
Every year, heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular events claim the lives of millions of people around the world. Many die a sudden and often premature death. Those who survive these life-threatening conditions often go on to suffer disability and a significantly reduced quality of life.
There may be awareness of the risk factors for heart attacks but few people heed the warnings. You know about smoking, cholesterol, stress, and obesity but ask how these vague cluster of factors could possibly create the explosives for the “time bomb”.
Over and over again, there is utter disbelief at the moment of the event. The cluster of factors such as high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood fats, high blood pressure, and an enlarged waist circumference: over 40 inches for men and over 36 inches for women make up your cardiometabolic risk (CMR). This concoction of ingredients creates the “time bomb” and in addition puts you at a higher risk of developing other cardiovascular events.
It is also important to understand that heart disease is no longer solely about the heart. Your entire vascular system – all your arteries in your body are affected simultaneously. The walls of vessels become damaged by the build-up of fatty materials from an unhealthy diet or cigarette smoking. This is called atherosclerosis.
Eventually blood flow through these vessels is reduced and occurs in the arteries leading up to your brain, to your legs, through your coronary arteries to the heart, and even to the vessels supplying your genitalia. The reduced blood flow in these areas, known as ischemia, may result in angina (reversible chest pain), minor strokes (known as transient ischemic attacks), poor circulation in the legs (peripheral arterial disease), and erectile dysfunction. In fact, erectile dysfunction may be the very first sign of heart disease in men.
Yet contrary to popular belief, the risk of suffering from the time bomb is preventable, manageable, and sometimes even reversible!
The greatest value of the CMR is that it can indicate that there may be impending damage. It is never too late to begin to defuse that time bomb! The challenge is to embark on a serious lifestyle change that combines adjusting your diet, losing weight, smoke cessation, regularly exercising, managing your stress, and when necessary treating each of the components of the CMR.
According to the American Heart Association, five harmful habits contribute to the development of heart disease which include smoking, inactivity, excess weight, poor nutrition, and drinking immoderate amounts of alcohol.
Each habit single-handedly or altogether precipitate artery-damaging atherosclerosis by disturbing metabolism and disrupting cells and tissue function. They also damage the markers of health we worry about so much: blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar.
Far too often, the end result of these five habits is a heart attack, stroke or heart failure. The damage they cause isn’t limited to the cardiovascular system but extends to the entire body.
What better choices can we make for our health and longevity?
According to the Nurses’ Health Study, one of the largest investigations into major diseases in women ever conducted, women who are non-smokers with a healthy weight, who exercised regularly, consumed a healthy diet with minimal alcohol intake were 85% less likely to have had a heart attack or to have died of heart disease over fifteen years, compared with all the other women in the findings. This research was carried out by a collaboration of Harvard Medical School together with several Harvard-affiliated hospitals. The results were almost identical in a similar study in men.
In these two studies, more than two-thirds of all heart attacks and cardiovascular events could be directly ascribed to smoking, excess weight, poor diet, and excessive drinking.
Five strategies to save your heart:
You can rely on the following five ways to protect your heart, your arteries, and your whole body. They will make you look better, feel better, and live longer. And the best news is that it’s never too late to start.
1. Invigorate your diet. Add fruits and vegetables, whole grains, good protein (from beans, nuts, fish, and lean meats), herbs and spices. Remove processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, high GI carbohydrates including white bread, white rice, cakes, and cookies. A fabulous way to get your increased antioxidant boost from the recommended five to seven daily servings of vegetables and fruits is of course to add your Wayal promoted supplements.
2. Avoid smoking. If you are a smoker, quitting is the biggest gift of health you can give yourself! The chemicals from cigarettes, cigars or pipes is as toxic to your heart as it is for your lungs. Be aware that secondary smoke is damaging too, for your family and especially young children.
3. Embrace activity. Regular exercise is truly the magic bullet against heart and cardiovascular disease. Utilize the ‘FIT’ principle – Frequency, Intensity, and Time. The minimum requirement to cleanse arteries and condition your heart is at least three times a week for at least thirty to forty minutes at a moderate intensity. In recent years the value of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has demonstrated significant benefits to heart health, immunity, and prevention of disease.
4. Aim for a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight, especially around your belly has significant detrimental effects on your heart’s health. It’s not just the actual extra weight that is harmful but when particular fatty tissues’ inflammatory cells and harmful substances are activated that damage arterial walls. A loss of just 5% to 10% of your body weight can make a significant difference to your metabolism, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
5. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Although it is true that a small amount of alcohol is possibly good for you, once you go beyond one drink per day (for women) to two (maximum for men), alcohol can be tremendously damaging to the body and brain. Be sure to limit your intake – one to two drinks a day for men and no more than one drink a day for women. The best choice is red wine as it contains the potent antioxidant resveratrol. Even better is to acquire the phytonutrient from the fresh grapes of the fabulous Wayal promoted supplement.
You don’t need to aim for a complete transformation all at once. Small changes in diet, exercise, or weight can make a big difference in your health. Setting goals you can realistically achieve, and then meeting them, can transform you into a glowing health!