It’s Tip Thursday! In Jamaica, heart disease is the number one cause of death. Preventative measures are key so on this first Thursday of February, which has been designated as Heart Month, here are 7 tips for a healthier heart.
- Sleep. Research has found that a good night’s sleep can actually help to reduce calcification of arteries and reduce blood pressure.
- De-Stress. Stress hormones can raise your blood pressure. Try meditation, yoga or other relaxation techniques.
- Watch your weight. Being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart disease. Even small reductions in weight can can be very heart-healthy. Check your body mass index here.
- Exercise. Just 30 minutes a day can help you to control your weight, lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol. For more on why exercise is good for you, have a look at this Gleaner article: Exercising To Protect Your Heart
- Eat a healthy diet. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables (at least 5 servings per day for adults). Decrease your intake of salt – to help lower your blood pressure – and saturated-fat, trans-fat and animal foods (meat, dairy, eggs) – to help lower your cholesterol. For more details on what to eat, have a look at these Gleaner articles: Food For The Heart and Keeping The Heart Healthy
- Limit alcohol use. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure. While research has shown that red wine may be more heart-healthy that other types of alcohol, still use it in moderation.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking hardens arteries, raises your blood pressure and can cause an irregular heartbeat.