Heart disease is one of the leading causes of deaths in Thailand, according to the WHO statistics.
The five main harmful habits causing heart diseases are an inactive lifestyle, obesity, unhealthy dietary habits, smoking and drinking too much alcohol. These risk factors encourage heart diseases to develop and in turn lead to complications not limited to the cardiovascular system, but also affecting the kidneys, bones and your brain.
Striving to live a healthier life can be easily achieved by making better choices and leading a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes you need a push in the right direction. Follow these five steps to avoiding heart disease:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet
Limit your portion size by using a smaller plate or bowl and eat a greater portion of low-calorie and food rich in nutrients, combined with a smaller portion of calorific foods that are high in salt, such as fast food. Try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, but if you can’t access fresh produce then frozen and canned alternatives are fine (be careful to avoid canned fruit packed in syrup and any fruit with added sugar). Additionally, wholegrains are can help regulate your blood pressure and also provide a great source of fibre. Another way of introducing a heart-healthy diet is to reduce your intake of saturated fats and trans fats, that can be found in animal fats and junk food- you can do this by eating leaner meats, adding less coconut oil or butter when cooking.
- Exercise regularly -
Exercise daily for at least 30 minutes a day which could include vigorous workouts like Zumba or jogging and moderate intense activity like brisk walking five to six days a week. Regular workouts will help strengthen your heart muscles and controls inflammation. Not only does exercise keep your weight in control but it also keeps cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels under check.
- Maintain a healthy weight -
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing a heart disease. Obesity is linked to high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Reducing your weight to a healthy level can help lower these risks because carrying those extra pounds around your belly can put a strain on your heart.
- Take a breath and de-stress yourself -
Stress is linked to a number of diseases, especially heart diseases. It is known to raise your blood pressure and can also be a trigger for heart attacks. Cope with stress by relaxing, listening to music, exercising or meditating. Try not to resort to bad habits like overeating, heavy drinking, smoking etc. which are bad for your heart.
- Get enough sleep -
Your body requires a minimum of 7-9 hours of sleep to function effectively. Missing out on those few extra hours of Zzz’s can raise your risk of developing high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes. If you have trouble sleeping or sleep-related problems, consult your physician and work together to find a solution. Adequate sleep can go a long way to keep your mind calm and your body healthy.
Follow these easy tips to keep heart diseases at bay. Along with the above tricks, avoid tobacco and alcohol and keep your blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels at normal to lead a brighter and healthy life.