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Be good to your heart

Tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle

BY HILTON HEAD REGIONAL HEALTHCARE

Keeping your heart healthy is imperative to sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Going overboard at the dinner table may have long-term effects on your heart health, especially if you have a pre-existing heart condition or if you are suffering from symptoms that may lead to heart disease. 

Here are some ways to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic health conditions:

Cook for the heart

Filling your dining table with healthy foods, rather than foods that are high in sugar and cholesterol, can help you stay away from temptation. Some heart-healthy recipes you can try are healthy twists to a traditional green bean casserole, baked sweet potatoes, roasted turkey with squash and asparagus, etc.

Keep moving

Don’t skip your workouts. Staying active can also keep your cardiovascular health in top shape. Even walking to the nearest park would be a step in the right direction. Invite your family to stay active with you.

Grab healthy options first

When you load up on fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains first, you can help reduce hunger and cravings for less healthy alternatives. Try the 80/20 principle wherein 80% of your caloric intake will contain healthy food, while sweets, fatty food and the others may take up to 20% of your daily caloric intake only. This way, you can maintain a balance on the quality of the food you intake and prevent any damage that less healthy foods may cause.

Aim to get eight hours of sleep per night

Infection, fever, and viruses can put a strain on your heart. Be sure to get enough sleep to help strengthen your immune system.

Add healthy fats and oils to your diet

These include olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, olives and foods that have natural oils over those made with hydrogenated fats.

Limit sodium intake and read food labels

The American Heart Association recommends lowering salt consumption to 1,500 milligrams a day. To put that in perspective, ¼ teaspoon of salt is equal to 575 milligrams of sodium and 1 teaspoon of salt equals 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

Don’t skip your medicines

If you have a heart condition and you’re planning to travel somewhere, don’t forget to bring your medicines or supplements, and still follow the schedule of intake prescribed by your doctor.

Eat a healthy snack before a large meal

Munching on a healthy snack before mealtime can help you prevent overeating and can also give you a sense of control. Some excellent pre-meal snacks include apples with peanut butter, banana, and a protein bar. Drinking a vegetable smoothie may also be a good option.

Cut out foods that are high in saturated fats. 

Avoid full-fat whole milk and other dairy products, high-fat cuts of meat and tropical oils, and trans-fat that is typically found in margarine, baked goods, crackers and fried fast foods.