According to annual heart disease data released by the American Heart Association, cardiovascular diseases account for almost a third of the death toll around the world. In the USA, a person dies from cardiovascular disease every 40 seconds! Last year, heart diseases took 17 million lives, and estimates show that by 2030, this number will rise to 23.6 million annually.
5 lifestyle changes to prevent heart attacks
A study conducted at the Karilonska Institute suggests that making five lifestyle changes can prevent about 80% of the first-time heart attacks in men. The changes are healthy diet, exercise, healthy waist circumference, moderate alcohol consumption and no smoking. Agneta Akesson, lead researcher on the study says: “It is not surprising that healthy lifestyle choices would lead to a reduction in heart attacks. What is surprising is how drastically the risk dropped due to these factors.”
Physical activity is the key
According to the AHA, a sedentary lifestyle is a risk that should be avoided. The Department of Cardiovascular Diseases at the Oschner Medica Center in New Orleans recently studied the outcomes of using cardiac rehabilitation and exercise as the primary prevention method, and the results showed that physical activity has positive effects on the heart’s health.
In the study, the plasma lipid levels were reduced by exercising, which also improved the glucose metabolism, reduced inflammation and improved the psychological health of CHD patients. The results showed 20-25% reduction in chief CV mortality and morbidity, but the most important finding of the study was how often is this method overlooked and unused. The scientists concluded that the exercises must not be extreme because that can actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
The results of another study showed that daily routine exercise for preventing cardiovascular disease had impressive results.
Results from a study done at the Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences show that exercise can strengthen skeletal muscle functional capacity and lower resistance by enhancing the capacity of intrinsic pumping of the heart. This clearly shows that daily exercise routines can reduce or even restore the dysfunctions in the heart.
Treating food as medicine
A study from Lyon examined subject aged 50-80 who previously had myocardial infections, and the group that was placed on a Mediterranean diet had 50-70% reduction of recurrent heart diseases. The scientists believe that this is mainly due to the use of olive oil in the diet, which provides:
Lipophilic compounds, which dissolve fats and lipids;
A-tocopherol – Vitamin E with powerful antioxidants;
Phenolic components – antioxidant enrichment with lipid destroying actions;
Antioxidant properties – reverse oxidative stress;
Anti-inflammatory characteristics – reduce internal and external edema.
Avoiding self-inflicting poisons
Recently, the Bureau of Metabolism published a report on the different lifestyle components of the disease, which showed that smoking considerably increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, peripheral vascular disorders and coronary artery disease. Smoking has also been proven to cause endothelial inflammation and dysfunction, a disruption of the relaxing and constricting abilities in the arteries. This leads to thrombus formation and incites the atherosclerotic plaque. Nicotine and carbon monoxide have also been linked to different cardiovascular diseases.
Modifiable lifestyle choices to promote a healthy heart
– Exercise for at least half an hour every day.
– Stop smoking immediately!
– Eat more fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, and whole grains that were not processed.
– Avoid saturated fats, trans fats, processed sugars and enriched grains.
– Focus on eating lean meat and fish, which are foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
– Eat more superfoods such as avocado, nuts, seeds and legumes.
– Start a small garden in your backyard – it will provide you with fresh fruit and vegetables and routine physical exercise.