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While most of us already know the content of this post, the intention is to serve as a reminder to all of us, including myself 🙂

To have a better heart, we need to have a healthy lifestyle – this involves having sufficient physical activity and eating healthy. Having a better heart, in this context, refers to reducing the risk of getting a heart disease.

Many people that have trained under me or my trainers mention that their heart rate improve (lower resting heart rate) due to more exercise. To take it a step further, we need to also improve our diet. Fast food, convenience food and saturated fats that make it impossible to have a healthy and good heart.

There are many lifestyle changes  you can make to significantly reduce your risk of getting a heart disease.

These are some of the factors that increase your chance of getting a heart disease:

  • High blood cholesterol and homocysteine
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Salt
  • Alcohol
  • Blood sugar
  • Overweight and diabetes

Cholesterol

You only need a certain amount of cholesterol as it is an important constituent of cell membrane and is found in every cell in your body. A high intake of saturated fat and lack of exercise can increase the amount of cholesterol produced by the body and so the amount in the bloodstream. Cut down on cooking fats, butter, margarine and full-fat milk. Be wary of trans fat intake than worry about cholesterol in food.

Smoking

Nicotine constrict the blood vessels, making it harder for the heart to pump blood. The smoke includes carbon monoxide which reduces oxygen levels in body tissue and heart muscle.

Stress

Too much adrenalin and stress hormones cause the arteries to constrict and cause blood pressure to rise. It makes your blood stickier and thicker and therefore damages your arteries. It also affects calcium and magnesium levels in your body.

Caffeine

Heavy coffee drinking links to a rise in cholesterol and even though it temporarily increases blood pressure, the real culprit is the substance released during the roasting of the coffee.

Salt

Sodium and potassium work together in your body to help maintain the concentration of the body fluids at correct levels. However, too much salt and your blood pressure will be forced up as there will be more water required in your blood which means a greater volume of fluid is passing through your heart. This will cause an additional strain to your heart and increase the possibility of a coronary disease.  The Food Standards Authority (FSA) recommend 5-6g of salt per day for an adult as a recommended amount.

Bring in your soldiers to build your defenses – here’s a quick recap of some of the  vitamins that matter.

Vitamins that you need to make your heart healthier:

  • Vitamin C
    Excellent antioxidant and strengthens the walls of the blood vessels.
  • Vitamin E
    Reduces platelets sticking together in the blood and lowers blood pressure. It also neutralises free-radical damage.
  • Selenium
    It is needed for the production of glutathione the master antioxidant.
  • Zinc
    It is needed to covert methionine to glutathione to avoid homocysteine build-up and to make hydrochloric acid in the stomach. It will affect your ability to taste and therefore you are less likely to add salt to your food.
  • Magnesium
    It helps to relax your heart muscle.
  • Potassium
    It works with sodium to balance the body fluids.
  • B vitamins
    It prevents the build up of homocysteine.
  • Essential Fatty Acids
    Reduces blood pressure by making your blood less sticky.
  • Fibre
    Helps to lower cholesterol as it binds bile acids and remove cholesterol from the body as waste.

In addition the the above, I’d like to add the ‘vitamin’ called Exercise. It works all your muscles, including your heart muscle which increases its capacity and endurance. Easy – just a total of 150 minutes of physical activity a week would go a long way. For those who would like to lose weight, do at least 250 minutes a week.

Sharm,MSC*
Your personal trainer
Team Fitness Guru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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