FEBRUARY is the month of love and hearts, and the Jamaica Observer is teaming up with the Partners Interventional Centre of Jamaica (PICJ) to help you care for yours.
Today marks the beginning of Cardiovascular Week; so, while we prep for Valentine’s Day and chocolate hearts, we’ve enlisted the help of the experienced cardiologists from PICJ to give us tips for a healthy heart.
Dr Andrene Chung was more than happy to give us seven simple strategies to keep your heart happy and healthy, long after February 14, which anyone can implement.
7 strategies to make your life better and healthier
1. Eating better, which can stave off chronic disease. Steps include increasing your intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Note, a healthy diet should be adhered to. This is one which is rich in root vegetables, fruit, peas, and beans, whole grains and oily fish, and restricted in red meat, added sugar, salt, and saturated and trans-fats. Individuals should read nutritional labels and become familiar with the recommended daily allowances of dietary components.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight because this can reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, blood vessels, and bones.
3. Exercising, which can help with your cholesterol levels, weight and muscle tone.
Note, regular physical activity should be engaged in unless there is some physical impediment to this. At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least five days per week or 25 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise for at least three days per week plus two days of moderate-intensity resistance exercises are the current recommendations.
4. Quitting cigarettes because even one can hurt you. Cigarette smoking is the most important preventable cause of heart disease.
5. Managing blood pressure. Unhealthy ranges strain the heart, arteries and kidneys.
6. Controlling cholesterol to give your arteries the best chance to stay clear of fatty blockages that reduce blood flow.
7. Reducing blood sugar. This can lower the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Excessive sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascuar disease, as well as certain cancers, for example breast cancer.