#WorldHeartDay | How to keep your heart healthy

#WorldHeartDay | How to keep your heart healthy
Woman experiencing chest pains.
Woman experiencing chest pains.
Getty Images

According to Lancet, the age-standardised death rates for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now higher than those of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined, with cardiovascular disease being the leading category of NCDs, especially in black women.  

With 29 September being World Heart Day, UCOOK CEO, Peter Allerstorfer, challenges South Africans to reduce their risk of heart disease by living healthier lives.

READ MORE | Top 10 diseases most prevalent among black women

“The implications of a bad diet and stressful lifestyle are immense, affecting our overall health and quality of life,” he says.

“Simple changes in our everyday lives can make a substantial difference to our health and livelihood."

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He offers 5 lifestyle changes one can implement for a healthier heart. 

Exercise regularly 

Encouraging your family to get active is the most valuable thing you can do and should be a way of life, it will help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Any activity that gets you slightly out of breath and the heart pumping faster, counts. Even a brisk walk with your dog, short cycle, gym class, swimming, dancing, gardening or playing an active game with your kids. 

Limit your consumption of alcohol

Limiting your alcohol intake to no more than 1 drink per day can reduce your risk immensely. One drink is a small glass of wine (120 ml), a can of beer (340 ml) or a tot of any spirit (25 ml).

Quit smoking

Quitting smoking is the best thing you could do for your heart and health. Smoking is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease. Luckily, it’s never too late to stop. The immediate benefits to your body are noticeable and your risk of heart disease and stroke can fall to levels close to that of a non-smoker.

Manage your stress

Stress often leads to unhealthy behaviours – you console yourself with indulgent food choices, spending a little more time on the couch than usual and drinking more. Help to manage stress better by prepping meals weekly so that you don’t make unhealthy fast food choices, as well as setting yourself a reminder to go for a walk or take a breather to break the tension cycle. 

Be conscious of your diet

Following a healthy eating regime and choosing ingredients that nourish your body and fight inflammation are highly beneficial to a healthy heart.

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