February is the month of love, and we all know this would not be possible without a healthy heart. Thrive shows you how to protect your heart.
Sadly, heart disease and strokes are the second biggest killers in South Africa. Our indulgent lifestyles are largely to blame for this growing problem – we eat too much, smoke and drink too much, and don’t do enough exercise. So what can we do to keep our hearts healthy?
- Stop smoking – no ifs, ands or butts! Smoking is the number one controllable
- Focus on your middle – if you’re carrying extra fat around your middle, it’s time to slim down. Eat fewer calories and exercise more.
- Go fish – eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help ward off heart disease. Many fish – such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring – are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which may help decrease triglycerides, lower blood pressure slightly, reduce blood clotting, decrease stroke and heart failure risk, and reduce irregular heartbeats.
- Laugh out loud – don’t just LOL in emails or Facebook posts. Laugh out loud every day. Whether you like watching funny movies or cracking jokes with friends, laughter may be good for your heart.
- Sidestep salt – processed and prepared foods tend to be especially high in salt, so avoid fast foods and consider salt alternatives, like Herbamare salt.
- Get moving – the heart is a muscle and in order to keep it healthy and strong, we need to live an active lifestyle. Regular exercise is important as it helps to reduce blood pressure.
- Know your numbers – keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in check is important for good heart health. Learn the optimal levels for your sex and age group. Take steps to reach and maintain those levels. Thrive offers a clinic service, which will help you to know and keep track of your numbers.
- Cut the fats – cook with extra virgin organic olive oil. Rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fatty acids, this oil helps manage the risk of heart disease, reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
- Go nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans and other tree nuts deliver a powerful punch of heart-healthy fats, protein and fibre. Including them in your diet can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. But, remember to keep the serving size small – while nuts are full of healthy stuff, they are also high in calories.
- Make time for breakfast – the first and most important meal of the day. Eating a nutritious breakfast every day can help you maintain a healthy diet and weight. Sprinkle chia seeds on your oats or add to a smoothie to increase your omega-3 intake.
- Brew up a healthy portion – try Pukka Supreme Matcha Green tea. Green tea lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The small amount of caffeine will also ensure a healthy energy boost and help maintain metabolism.
- Find your happy place – a sunny, positive outlook may be good for your heart, as well as your mood. Research shows that chronic stress, anxiety and anger can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a positive outlook on life may help you stay healthier for longer.
Thrive is celebrating the month of love by sharing all the things we love to keep you healthy, so follow us on Facebook during February to find out what we love. And because we believe in keeping our community healthy, we are offering free blood pressure tests for the month of February.
Thrive is the new name for National Road Pharmacy, 1 Natalia Terrace, Charles Way, Kloof
031 764 0311