Heart Attacks & Heart Disease are Preventable Are You at Risk of a Heart Attack?
This may sound absurd considering – Heart Disease and Heart Attacks are still the main cause of Premature Death & Increasing as we Speak!
I want to share with you a closer look at the causative factors, why the increased risks and 8 Steps that you can follow to a Healthy Heart.
Why the Increase In Heart Disease & Heart Attacks?
Due to the increase availability of Fast food outlets and processed foods. These containing damaging fats, chemicals, additives, large quantities of salt and sugar. All of these a “Deadly” Cocktail when it comes to your heart and circulatory system. The terminology of a heart attack in the medical field is known as myocardial infarction. This occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. This interrupts the blood flow to the heart and causes damage to part of the heart muscle. Often a heart attack is fatal or the damage that has occurred irrepairable. This decrease in blood flow and heart function is also a leading cause of diminishing brain function.
However, the earlier that you seek emergency medical help, the outcome will be a great deal more positive.
The major causes are either or many of these factors: a build up of plaque:
It is not full understood why plaque builds up in our arteries, but may well commence with damage caused by the artery wall. There is indications that inflammation caused by negative lifestyle habits such as smoking and a what is commonly known as a meat and potatoes diet is a major contributor to the build up of plaque in the artery walls along with a diet missing the vital nutrients that vegetables contain to prevent this.
Further damage is caused by high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and low levels of good cholesterol (HDL). It is the good cholesterol that aids with metabolizing our cholesterol levels in your body.
What puts you at Risk?
- Age: Men over the age of 45 years or Women over the age of 55 years are more susceptible to the risk of a heart attack. Depending on the lifestyle they have been living previously.
- Lifestyle Choices: such as smoking, eating a diet high in fat, sugar and salt, poor oral hygiene, use of drugs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Obesity: being overweight – having an excess of body fat, especially around the waist area is a strong indication that you a high risk for a heart attack or stroke. Even if there are no other signs or symptoms. Excess weight also puts a huge strain on the heart and other organs within the body, putting you at risk of other health concerns.
- High Blood Pressure: Blood pressure readings are always a significant way of determining your level of health and of any health concerns. If blood pressure continues to remain high that is say anything over 140/95 and above, for a long period of time this will cause further damage to the arteries. High blood pressure that is caused by dietary factors, smoking and obesity will increase the risk of a heart attack.
- Inactive Lifestyle: A lifestyle that hasn’t included a level of significant physical activity that is walking, swimming, bike riding or a very active line of employment that gives you a level of being physically active for at least 1/4 of your day a minimum of an hour per day. Will increase your risk of heart disease or stroke.
- Managing Stress: Anger, negative thoughts, suppressed emotions can all play an important role when it comes to the health of your heart. Take time to learn to manage and handle your stress effectively so as to eliminate the negative feelings of anger, depression, continued or long term sadness or isolation. Also to engage with positive people and positive activities these will give the necessary tools to manage your emotions in a positive way.
- Children are fast becoming high risk in the heart attack arena with increased consumption of processed, packaged foods, fast foods, sugary drinks, lollies with minimal if any intake of fresh foods, vegetables and fruit.
8 Steps To a Healthy Heart!
You may well know that eating certain foods, engaging in certain lifestyle habits are going to increase your risk of heart disease. But they seem a long way a way.
Well unfortunately for many that is not coming too far away, with the increase in childhood obesity and young adult obesity, not to mention the habits of self destruction seem to be on the increase.
That day may well come around sooner that we would like it to.
So whether it is discarding unhealthy eating habits or lifestyle habits or maybe fine tuning these. Let’s look at ways we can help to decrease and quite possibly eliminate your risk
1. Dietary Changes – Change what you Eat & Change the Way you Feel
Here I am going to give you the foods to focus on and to include every day, because I have found that when we focus on what we need to be doing. This eliminates the negatives of what we shouldn’t be doing.
- The use of spreads – coconut oil is better than butter: you can also include things like avocado, ricotta cheese or cottage cheese.
- Oats, Quinoa, Flakes are easy breakfast suggestions for during the week using yogurt, almond or rice milk. If on the weekend you would like a cooked breakfast include poached or scrambled eggs with wilted spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms.
- Coffee only to have black plunger or dripolator coffee. If you have heart problems you may want to go for organic caffeine free. Dandelion tea is a great alternative and is beneficial for not only your heart, but also for your circulation and liver.
- Meats: Fresh meats from the butcher such as lean red meat, organic chicken breast. When cooking meats use garlic, onion or herbs for flavour avoid sauces in jars or tins.
- Fish: Deep sea, wild caught fish this is great for your heart and you can have this 2 – 3 x week.
- Pomegranate: This is great to help with removal of plaque from your arterial walls. Include – 1 glass per day.
- Vegetables: Steamed or baked in olive oil include 5 – 6 vegetables of different colours per day. Best vegetables to include are – Sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, parsnips, cabbage especially red, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts, celery: the list goes on.
- Fruit: 2 – 3 pieces of fruit per day or a cup of berries or melons. These can include: rockmelon, honey dew, apples especially red, bananas (limit these to 2 – 3 per week), kiwi fruit, berries, lemons, oranges, mangoes: once again I am sure you can think of more. But the point here is variety, have a variety of different fruits per day and keep them seasonal as you know these are fresh.
- Water: Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water per day this is great for every aspect of your body.
- Yogurt: Greek Natural yogurt have one – this is yummy with a drizzle of honey and some shaved almonds. You can also have some of your fruit with these, topped with some organic, sugar free drinking chocolate is just a bit YUMMMM!!!!!
- Salads these will help to detoxify your body keeping it alkaline as well as giving lots of great vitamins and minerals that will help support your healthy heart. Dark green lettuces, tomatoes, mushrooms, grated carrot. I even include some fruit in my salads apple and pear make a great accompliment to salads. Nuts are a great source of protein and can be added to salads especially walnuts or pine nuts.
- Oils for cooking and I am not meaning deep fried, just like pan cooking or stir fry cooking are the best ways of cooking. Olive oil, sesame oil, rice oil and coconut oil.
Your heart is in fact a muscle, therefore it becomes stronger and healthier by living an active life. It is never too late to begin exercising. You don’t have to be an athlete. It can be as easy as taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes per day. This will make a big difference for you.
Regular exercise will help you by burning calories, will lower blood pressure, reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and will boost your HDL “good” cholesterol. These being very important facts to obtaining your healthy heart.
Other ways to incorporate more exercise into your day is to do some stretching, have you ever watched your cat or dog when they get up they always stretch their limbs. Try doing this when you get out of bed in the morning, get up from a chair or finishing doing any aerobic activity. If you enjoy swimming this is a great way to exercise whilst supporting any muscle tension or tightness. Household activities that are great ways to exercise are gardening mowing the lawns: vacuuming, washing floors, cleaning cupboards, these aren’t just great ways to exercise but you feel you have accomplished something at the end of it.
3. Managing Stress & Anxiety
No matter what there will always be certain levels of stress coming into your life. Various situations, events and people in our lives that will bring a certain elements of stress to every day living. There are four main things that will help here that is to-
- Firstly see the situation how it is. By this I mean not to see it worse than it is or better than it is: But how it is. Having positive friends whom you can share your life with is helpful in understanding positive ways of dealing with situations.
- No matter what there will always be a funny side, try to see the funny side.
- Communicate: I am not talking here about dumping on people, but to genuinely communicate your concerns, maybe your sadness or feelings to others. The key support here is knowing that we are not the only one going through difficult times.
- Before reacting if we are feeling anxious, upset, angry or negative toward a person or situation, just take a deep breath, go for a walk or remove ourselves from the situation until we are feeling in a better headspace.
4. Understand and Accept your Emotions
Your life has been an array of many events for many of you ranging from absolute to trauma to some glimpse or events of excitement and joy. The first step is to accept our emotional responses, firstly as being normal that is unless you have been drinking excessively or taking drugs or medication. As these can often accelerate emotional responses to a level of abnormality. What I am talking about here is to get in touch with your emotions if you have had past experiences that have left you feeling unable to cope, crying without being able to stop and find any happiness. You may well benefit from finding a counsellor who will help you work through these incidences, to move ahead so they no longer have a negative affect for you. I now believe everyone can benefit from counselling, helping you to move your inward feelings out into the open, giving you a feeling of normality. That is being happy with your life: Where you have been; Where you are and Where you are going.
5. Loving Yourself
You may well ask what has this to do with a healthy heart, well almost everything. Because if you don’t have a sense of love for your own very uniqueness then you will be unable to follow through with anything that is going be supportive of a healthy heart. Love yourself by not comparing yourself to other people, only learning from people how you want to be live your life. The better you become at loving yourself, the easier it will be to accept others without them affecting you or your life in a negative way.
6. Be True to Yourself
Inside of you is a very essence of what and who you want to stand for. You have a set a values that you want as part of your life, to help you to live your life. Don’t let anyone sway you away from these and if you come across people who do then it is important that you remove yourself from their presence.
7. Be your Own Best Friend
People will come and go from your life, few may stay forever. Guess what you will be the person in your life that will be there forever. So be kind to yourself, fuel your body with fresh, nourishing foods that will keep you in good health, nourish your mind, your spirit with positive thoughts and actions.
After dealing with your emotions now is the time to let go of any painful events, people or even things for which you feel have done you wrong. The act of forgiveness it vitally important as it is the only form of healing from any painful event or person in your lives. Remembering that through pain you can find and appreciate – Great Joy!!!!!! You are not responsible for their judgement only to be in peace with your own life.
You will Learn: Positive Steps to Supporting Children’s Health