Learn the Rules of the game and play to win.

Let's look at three closely related heart-health issues – heart disease, diabetes and maintaining a healthy weight. Bear in mind that these three go hand-in-hand: Diabetes is seriously on the rise, increasing the incidence of diabetes-related heart disease. Being overweight increases your vulnerability to diabetes and other heart diseases.

This article will focus on your body’s miraculous machine – your heart – and what you can do to help it stay in top working condition. We’ll emphasize the healthy lifestyle choices you can make that may affect your heart-health, plus some important "cardiostuff" that may someday benefit you or a loved one.

(Article as featured in Health & Living USA February 2003, V3,N2)

Don’t Go Breaking Your Heart - Your Heart-Health is SO important

When it comes to heart-health, you can take control through diet, physical activity and a few other, simple lifestyle choices.

It is essential in maintaining a healthy heart that we do the right cardio exercises, and that should not be a problem to anyone. The best exercise that we can do for our heart is walking. So make sure you walk regularly. Swimming and cycling are also good, or anything that gets your blood pumping. Remember that your heart is a muscle so it gets stronger with use.

Culinary Meets Coronary – stay out of Fat City, where the living isn’t always so easy.

Delicious and nutritious can be one and the same when you follow a low glycaemic diet plan, a must for your heart-health.

The basis of your diet to maintain your heart-health should be fruit and vegetables, eaten as much as possible in their most natural state (raw or very lightly cooked).

In addition to fresh foods from Mother Nature, supplements can make getting sufficient vitamins and minerals quick and convenient.

Better eating habits can help you lose body fat, control weight and look and feel your best.

Bypass heart problems by staying active

Whatever your age or current health, as long as your doctor gives you the go-ahead, physical activity is good for you and can keep your heart healthy. That's not saying you have to train for the Olympics. Any form of physical activity will help.

At home, at work, on vacation, fit in fitness wherever you can. Walk or bike to the store instead of driving. Take a walk with your co-workers when you’re on a break. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park further away from the office and walk the extra distance. Don’t just watch TV – use that exercise bike. Even housework and yard work add to your total. Experts recommend accumulating 30 minutes of physical activity a day, every day!

Make a U-turn on Tobacco Road.

Is there anyone who still thinks smoking is safe? Probably not. Virtually everyone now realises that cigarettes are a prime factor in most cardiovascular diseases, plus cancer, emphysema and various oral diseases – to name just a few.

Having trouble quitting the habit? Click on the stub for more information that may help you in your quest.

Unfortunately, many still choose to smoke, perhaps because they believe they can’t quit, or they just enjoy smoking.

Since smoking is the #1 preventable cause of illness, the choice is up to you. Clear the air or take the consequences.

Get the lowdown on high blood pressure – have yours checked regularly.

When was the last time you had your blood pressure checked? If you can’t easily remember, it’s been too long. Especially if you smoke, are overweight or get little or no exercise. If someone in your immediate family has had heart problems, run – don’t walk – to get your blood pressure checked.

Eat Hearty

Nature’s lavish smörgåsbord of nourishment can help your hard-working heart.

Here are some of the most popular items that should appear on your daily menu:

Garlic – this root of allium sativum originated in Asia, where it’s been cultivated and highly regarded for healthful properties for at least 5,000 years.(Sorry – the substance that gives its powerful aroma also makes it good for you.)

Grape seed extract – a concentrated natural source of folic acid, which is terrific for helping to maintain a healthy heart.

Hawthorn berry extract – drawn from ripe berries of the hawthorn plant, the extract of hawthorn berries has a long impressive history of medicinal uses by herbalists.

Carambola fruit – also known as star fruit, comes from a small tree found in Asia. Very rich in vitamin C.

L-Arginine – a semi-essential amino acid found in meats, wheat germ, cottage cheese, ricotta, nuts, eggs, milk, granola.

Taurine – found in red meats, fish, beets, human milk and many animal tissues, taurine is an amino acid regarded as a conditionally essential nutrient.

These nutrients can be taken as dietary supplements. While all are completely safe, please consult your doctor before taking them on a regular basis.

* Warning Signs of Heart Attack *
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the centre of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of Breath. This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort, but it can occur before the chest discomfort.

Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

Heart Facts (Australian)
  • Cardiovascular disease (heart stroke and blood vessel disease) is the leading cause of death and disability in Australia claiming the lives of 49,741 people each year (39% of all deaths) or a life every 10 minutes.
  • Coronary heart disease is the largest single cause of death in Australia.
  • For a forty year old, the risk of having CHD sometime in the future is 1 in 2 for men and 1 in 3 for women. In 2000, 12,469 Australian women died from CHD. 51% of Australians have high blood cholesterol (6.40 million adults and 30% have high blood pressure (3.69 million adults).

Stroke Facts (Australian)

  • Stroke is the second leading cause of death for both males and females in Australia.
  • Each year, around 40,000 people have a stroke, with 70% of these being first-time strokes.
  • Stroke is also an important cause of severe disability.

(Statistics from Heart Foundation website)

From Heart-Health back to Home

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