11 tips for the 2011 elections

Tired of hearing how your vote will make a difference? Too many candidates and too many promises?
Love your South Africa and love your heart with our 2011 election day survival guide:

  1. Jump-start your day the nutritional way. Breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day! It improves your concentration and performance and lowers cholesterol levels, so don’t skip it…have a hearty bowl of oats, a portion of fruit and a cup of tea and you will surely have a super day.
  2. Stay hydrated. During winter, people tend to drink less water however in the cold weather your body needs to be even more hydrated. Eight glasses of water a day can provide you with a host of health benefits, so drink up.
  3. Know your number, know your risk! All South Africans need to get their blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar tested, knowing your health status can save your life, rather be informed, than sorry.
  4. Eat a healthy snack before you queue. Feed your brain and heart with a heart healthy snack before you make that all important vote. Fresh fruit and nuts will give you a natural energy boost and assist you in making your decision.
  5. Keep fit.  Regular physical activity (exercise) reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, so while you wait to “have your say”, jog on the spot, stretch, and keep your body active and heart strong!
  6. Chill. Keep your stress under control as chronic stress can increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Remember, stress management is within your control.
  7. Avoid smoking and drinking. Not only does smoking triple your risk of heart disease, it is bad for our environment (our South Africa) and a complete waste of money. Drinking too much alcohol can cause heart failure and high blood pressure, so limit your intake. Go to the voting stations with a clear mind and healthy body.
  8. Love your neighbour. Smile! A friendly disposition is indicative of a positive outlook. Smiling relieves stress; boosts your immune system; lowers your blood pressure; releases endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin, makes you look more attractive and helps you stay positive minded, which is crucial at this time. With so many great reasons one can’t help but smile.
  9. Think positively. Positive thinking strengthens your immunity, combats stress and puts your mind in good shape, which is critical for your wellbeing and the people around you.
  10. Fruit & veg out. Five servings of fruit and vegetables a day is guaranteed to keep your body healthy. A healthy body equals a healthy mind. Invest in your health each day, because you only have one heart and one body.
  11. Don’t vote for salt. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure. It is also linked with other medical conditions such as kidney disease, osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and stomach cancer. One teaspoon of salt per day is advised. Consider the amount of salt contained in the foods you eat.

Happy voting!

(Source: Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa)

- (Health24, May 2011)

Read more:

Salt: the slow, silent killer
Slideshow: 10 salty food culprits
Diet and heart disease

Visit Health24's Heart Health Centre

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