Pump up your heart

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Your heart is a muscle organ that pumps blood to your body and it's at the centre of your circulatory system. It’s made up of a network of blood vessels, arteries, veins and capillaries which carries blood to your entire body. Your blood carries the oxygen and nutrients that your organs need to work well. Blood also carries carbon dioxide (a waste product) to your lungs so you can breathe it out.

A healthy heart supplies your body with the right amount of blood at the rate needed to work well. If disease or injury weakens your heart, your body’s organs won’t receive enough blood to work normally.

Prevent now, live longer
A heart attack is the death of heart muscle caused by the complete blockage of a coronary artery by a blood clot. Rather than waiting for warning signs of heart disease, there are things you can do to prevent it.

Heart helpers

Take a chill pill
Stress accelerates your heart rate through secretion of the adrenal stress hormones, adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol. Learn daily stress management techniques like breathing and muscle relaxation to help keep stress at bay.

Eat smart
Avoid foods that contain saturated fat and cholesterol. Limit fat to 30 percent of your daily calories by balancing occasional high-fat foods with low-fat choices, like fruits, vegetables and grains.

Control your sugar
If you’re diabetic, keep your sugar intake minimal to delay atherosclerosis (the narrowing of coronary arteries because of the accumulation of cholesterol plaque on their inside walls).

Get moving
Walk, swim, jog or cycle. Gradually work up to exercising 30 to 45 minutes at least three times a week.

Check your homocysteine levels
Homocysteine is a non-protein amino acid. High levels indicate a high risk for heart disease and stroke. In large amounts, homocysteine damages the inner lining of arteries, and thickens arteries. 

Good to know

  • Add spices like cinnamon, cayenne pepper and cloves to food or make a herbal tea with these spices to improve arterial health. These stimulate circulation and dilate blood vessels in your arms and legs. 
  • Three cups of gingko biloba herbal tea per day can help counter inflammation of the artery walls and prevent harmful oxidised cholesterol. 
  • Garlic can reduce high blood pressure and helps in the smooth circulation of blood. Garlic also lowers the cholesterol level and reduces the oxidation of “bad” cholesterol. 
  • These micronutrients support heart function: vitamins A, E, C, carotenoids, minerals zinc, selenium, copper; minerals calcium and magnesium; amino acids L-carnitine and N-acetyl-l-cystein, co-enzyme Q10 and  essential fatty acids like evening primrose or starflower and cold water salmon oil.

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