Heart attack lifestyle risks

By admin
28 August 2013

Why people die of heart attacks – and what you can do to avoid having one.

Why people die of heart attacks – and what you can do to avoid having one:

We don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables contain phytochemicals, compounds in plant foods that protect us against many diseases including heart disease. Here are some of the functions phytochemicals perform.

  • They act as antioxidants.
  • They keep the walls of small blood vessels healthy.
  • They block specific enzymes that raise blood pressure.

TAKE ACTION: Try to have nine portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

We don’t walk enough

The heart is a muscle and like any other muscle in the body it becomes stronger the more you exercise it. Physical activity is vital because:

  • It makes the heart stronger so it can pump more blood with fewer beats.
  • It lowers blood pressure by increasing the diameter of the coronary arteries.
  • It lowers LDL, the bad cholesterol, and increases HDL, the good cholesterol.

TAKE ACTION: Do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking most days.

We eat too much saturated fat

This kind of fat is bad for you because

  • Saturated fat is the most rigid of all fats and is solid at room temperature. Solid fats are hard to dissolve and can easily get stuck in your arteries.
  • When you eat too much saturated fat your liver overproduces cholesterol and you end up with more than you need.

Examples of foods that contain these harmful fats are:

Cream, cheese, butter and processed meats such as sausages.

TAKE ACTION: Limit saturated fat consumption to less than 10 per cent of your total kilojoule intake a day.

We eat too many trans fats

Hydrogenated oils or trans fats, as they’re called, are produced artificially by inserting molecules of hydrogen into vegetable oils ? a process called hydrogenation ? to increase the shelf-life of certain foods. Examples of foods that contain these harmful fats are:

  • Industrial baked goods such as cookies, doughnuts, croissants, cakes and so on.
  • Solid margarine.
  • Fried fast food.

TAKE ACTION: Read food labels and avoid products that contain trans fats.

We smoke

The risk of dying of a heart attack is four times higher for people who smoke.  Smoking is bad for the heart because:

  • It raises blood pressure.
  • The carcinogenic (cancer-causing) components in tobacco damage the walls of the arteries.
  • The carbon monoxide from the burning tobacco interferes with the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen.

TAKE ACTION: There’s no easy answer – you have to quit.

We drink too much alcohol

Alcohol intake raises blood pressure and almost half of all heart attacks are caused by high blood pressure.

TAKE ACTION: Limit your alcohol intake to two small glasses of wine a day if you’re a man and one small glass daily if you’re a woman.

-Kim Arendse

Source: Health24.com

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