Make Heart Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Diet: What you eat can have a direct impact on your heart health. Choose to follow a heart-healthy diet, such as eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, lean protein, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
Opt for healthier unsaturated fats instead of saturated and trans fats. Hydrate yourself with water, while limiting sugary drinks and alcohol.
Physical activity: Its recommended to get 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Break it up however you like. A good goal is to exercise for a total of about 30 minutes most days of the week. Move your body in ways you enjoy, choosing activities that you like and can stick to.
Stress:Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Stress hormones can impact blood sugar levels, and can also lead to high blood pressure. People with diabetes are also at increased risk of depression and diabetes distress, or burnout.
Finding ways to cope with and manage your stress can go a long way to help in the prevention of heart disease and other health conditions.
Sleep:Getting enough quality sleep each night can help reduce stress hormones. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Additionally, try to have regular sleep and wake times, which will help keep your circadian rhythm consistent.
Controlling Diabetes Path To Improved Health
There are many things you can do to be proactive about your health. Taking care of yourself is especially important when you have diabetes. Some of the things you would do to control diabetes will also lower your risk for heart disease.
Controlling your blood sugar level will lower your risk of heart disease. Many people who have diabetes check their blood sugar level every day. This confirms their medicines and/or insulin, diet, and exercise are working to keep their blood sugar in a normal range.
Diabetes, being overweight, and heart disease often go together. Losing weight helps a lot of health problems. For example, if youve been told your blood pressure is too high, losing weight can bring it down. If your blood sugar level has been hard to control, losing weight can help.
Weight loss is important if you have a lot of extra weight around your waist and abdominal area. People who tend to carry extra weight around their waist are more at risk for heart disease than people who have extra weight in the hips or thighs.
You dont have to lose a huge amount of weight to lower your risk for heart disease. Losing even 10 pounds can help.
If you need help losing weight, ask your family doctor for advice. He or she can help figure out a safe and healthy plan for you.
How To Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease With Healthy Eating
Try these steps to reduce your risk of developing heart disease:
- Limit fried fast food and processed foods.
- Replace energy from saturated fats with healthy unsaturated fats from seeds and plants and foods such as nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and soy.
- Increase the amount and variety of plant foods eat more vegetables, fruits and wholegrain cereals.
- Reduce intake of refined sources of carbohydrates with higher glycaemic indices .
- Limit unprocessed red meats to a maximum of 350 g per week and avoid processed meat .
- Trim all visible fat from meat and remove skin from poultry.
- Eat legumes regularly like baked beans , soybeans, lentils and tofu.
- Snack on a handful of raw, unsalted nuts on most days of the week .
- Eat oily fish at least once per week.
- Reduce your salt intake avoid packaged and processed foods, limit fast foods and salty foods. Replace salt at the table and in cooking, with herbs and spices for flavour.
- Check the sodium content of foods and choose the lowest sodium products.
- If you have elevated cholesterol levels, switch to low-fat or non-fat dairy products and have no more than 7 eggs per week.
- If you drink alcohol, have no more than 2 standard drinks on any one day. A high alcohol intake increases blood pressure and can increase triglycerides in the blood.
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Green Leafys And Beets Improve Vascular Health
High blood pressure is a predictor of cardiovascular disease and the potential for heart attack and stroke. So of course, its important to aim for healthy blood pressure levels.
Fortunately, nature makes this task a little less daunting because the natural compounds found in green leafy vegetables and beets work to optimize the bodys vascular system.
These nitrates stimulate the production of nitric oxide in the body. In turn, nitric oxide promotes vasodilation of the blood vessels, which helps to lower blood pressure.
On top of improvements in your arteries, other studies have linked the consumption of nitrate-rich foods with additional cardiovascular improvements a reduction in inflammatory molecules and less blood platelet aggregation, which lowers your risk of a developing dangerous blood clots.
Diabetesobesity And Heart Disease: A Matter Of Living
When facing this trifecta of chronic systemic conditions, there is a disconcerting array of medical problems that typically develop oversome you may know about and others may be news to you:
high blood pressure
peripheral artery disease including foot ulcers and amputation
kidney disease and renal failure
Since genetics plays only a minor role in obesity, the way we live is the root cause of obesity for the vast majority of us. This typically leads to hormone changes, and ultimately to diabetes, hypertension, and elevated lipids , and yet is overlooked, says Christos S. Mantzoros, MD, professor of medicine and chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, during his presentation at the 2nd annual Heart in Diabetes Medical Conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.²
While we may not know the precise underlying encompassing diabetes and heart disease, what we can say is that in more than 96% of the population, these conditions are driven by lifestyle and environmental factors,” says Dr. Mantzoros.
As such, you can improve your health and reduce your disease risks just by adopting a vegetable-based heart-healthy diet and committing to daily physical activity.
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Should I Eat Foods That Contain Cholesterol Like Eggs
Foods such as eggs, kidneys and prawns, contain cholesterol and, in the past, were restricted as part of a heart-healthy diet. However, for most people, consuming cholesterol in this way doesnt seem to have as great an effect on blood cholesterol levels compared to eating a diet high in saturated fat. These foods are therefore not restricted and can be included as part of a healthy, balanced and varied diet.
Manage Your Diabetes Abcs
Know your diabetes ABCs to help you manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Stop smoking if you have diabetes to lower your chances of developing heart disease.
A is for the A1C test. The A1C test shows your average blood glucose level over the past 3 months. This is different from the blood glucose checks you do every day. The higher your A1C number, the higher your blood glucose levels have been during the past 3 months. High levels of blood glucose can harm your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, feet, and eyes.
The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7%. Some people may do better with a slightly higher A1C goal. Your A1C goals may also change as you get older and your lifestyle changes. Ask your health care team what your goal should be.
B is for blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels. If your blood pressure gets too high, it makes your heart work too hard. High blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke and damage your kidneys and eyes.
The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90 mm Hg. Ask what your goal should be.
S is for stop smoking. Quitting smoking is especially important for people with diabetes because both smoking and diabetes narrow blood vessels, so your heart has to work harder. E-cigarettes arent a safe option either.
If you quit smoking
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Consider Medication Or Surgery
Medication: Another good way you can help prevent heart disease is by taking your medications as prescribed. This includes diabetes medications and medications to manage cholesterol, blood pressure, triglycerides, and more. Never skip a dose or stop taking your medications unless directed by your doctor.
Surgery: You may need surgery or another medical procedure performed if you have developed heart disease. Treatment will look different for each person, depending on the type of heart complication. Talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about potential surgical treatments for your condition.
Causes And Risk Factors
People with diabetes are more likely to have other conditions that raise the risk for heart disease, such as:
- Weakness or numbness in your arms or legs
- Pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest
- Numbness, pain, or weakness in your arms or legs
- Pain in your throat, neck, jaw, upper abdomen, or back
- Swelling in your legs, abdomen, or areas around your eyes
- Indigestion, nausea, heartburn, or stomach pain
- Loud snoring or sleep apnea
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Reduce Your Heart Disease Risk With Healthy Eating
Eating a variety of foods is beneficial to our health and can help reduce our risk of disease . Try to eat a wide variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups, in the amounts recommended. Not only does this help you maintain a healthy and interesting diet, but it provides essential nutrients to the body.
The Heart Foundation recommends:
- Plenty of vegetables, fruits and wholegrains.
- A variety of healthy protein sources , legumes , nuts and seeds. Smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry can also be included in a heart healthy diet. If choosing red meat, make sure it is lean and limit to one to 3 times a week.
- Unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese. Those with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
- Healthy fat choices nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking.
- Herbs and spices to flavour foods, instead of adding salt.
Also, be mindful on how much you are eating and whether you are filling up on unhealthy foods. Portion sizes have increased over time and many of us are eating more than we need which can lead to obesity and increase our risk of cardiovascular disease.
Ideally, a healthy plate would include servings of ¼ protein, ¼ carbohydrates and ½ vegetables.
Full Fat Or Reduced Fat Dairy
Although full fat dairy foods contain saturated fat, it appears this type of fat has a neutral relationship with heart health.
The Heart Foundation recommends unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese can be consumed by the general population but for people who need to lower their LDL cholesterol, reduced fat versions should be consumed instead.
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Vegetables To Choose From
Artichoke, asparagus, beets, celery, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, onions, leeks, kohlrabi, green onions, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumber, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, okra, zucchini, yellow summer squash, radish, snow peas, mushrooms, green beans, and so forth.
Plus a huge range of green leafy vegetables:
Lettuce, seaweeds, alfalfa, bean sprouts, spinach, collard greens, kale, beet greens, mustard greens, dandelion, fennel, Swiss chard, watercress, turnip greens, arugula/rocket, endive, bok choy, chicory, radicchio, Chinese cabbage, and silverbeet.
Lets explore a few of their super powers, along with a one day healthy diet plan youll thoroughly enjoy.
How To Take Care Of The Heart With Diabetes
Managing blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels is the most important way for a person with diabetes to take care of their heart. They can usually achieve this through diet, medication, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications.
Diet is essential in managing blood sugar levels. A person should try to focus on eating lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean protein, and low fat milk. They should also try to limit processed, sugary, and fatty foods.
Medication is also recommended for some people. In clinical trials , many newer diabetes medications have significantly reduced the risk of heart disease and stroke.
For people with type 2 diabetes who are at higher risk of heart disease, the recently updated American Diabetes Association guidelines recommend that doctors prescribe sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors, such as empagliflozin , or glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists, such as liraglutide .
A doctor may also recommend medications such as aspirin to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and prevent blood clots.
It is also critical for those who currently smoke to stop smoking.
For overall heart health, the recommend getting at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.
Moderate intensity aerobic activity includes such activities as:
- brisk walking
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Acute Vs Chronic Inflammation: How The Difference Impacts Your Body
When inflammation happens in a big way, but doesnt last, its called acute inflammation. This is when a problem hits fast and hard. You may notice redness and heat around the affected area. Some people pain and swelling.
This short-duration inflammation can help your body heal from injuries and infections.
When inflammation sticks around longer than necessary, its called chronic inflammation. Over time, it can cause severe damage to the body. You may not notice any symptoms or signs. Unfortunately, its silently doing a lot of harm. Chronic inflammation is linked to problems like diabetes, heart disease, and excess body fat. Moreover, it is also linked to Alzheimers disease, cancer and a host of other diseases. Even mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety, can get worse because of it.
Blood Pressure And Salt
A diet high in salt is linked to hypertension , which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Most of us consume more than 10 times the amount of salt we need to meet our sodium requirements .
Most of the sodium in our diet is not from added salt at the table, but from packaged and processed foods. Even sweet foods and those that dont taste salty can have much more sodium than youd expect!
A simple way to cut down on the amount of sodium in your diet is to reduce the amount of processed foods, limit fast food and use herbs and spices for flavour.
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What Is A Heart
Heart-healthy foods help lower your risk of having heart disease in the future. They do this by reducing your blood pressure, overall cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and fasting blood sugar.
They may also contain high levels of antioxidants. These protect against oxidative stress and inflammation, which contribute to the development of heart disease.
In general, heart-healthy means:
Take Medicine To Protect Your Heart
Medicines may be an important part of your treatment plan. Your doctor will prescribe medicine based on your specific needs. Medicine may help you
- meet your A1C , blood pressure, and cholesterol goals.
- reduce your risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke.
- treat angina, or chest pain that is often a symptom of heart disease. Angina can also be an early symptom of a heart attack.
- treat heart failure, which is a form of heart disease in which your heart cannot pump blood well enough for your body to work properly.
Ask your doctor whether you should take daily aspirin. Aspirin is not safe for everyone. Your doctor can tell you whether taking aspirin is right for you and exactly how much to take.
Statins can reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in some people with diabetes. In addition, certain diabetes medicines have been shown to reduce the risk of heart attacks and death in patients at very high risk of having a heart attack. Talk with your doctor to find out whether taking a statin or a diabetes medicine that reduces heart attack risk is right for you.
Take medicines the way your doctor or health care team tells you to. Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions about your medicines. Before you start a new medicine, ask your doctor about possible side effects and how you can avoid them. If the side effects of your medicine bother you, tell your doctor. Dont stop taking your medicines without checking with your doctor first.
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Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure
It just so happens that getting enough potassium in your diet is a great way to naturally lower your blood pressure levels.
While you may have heard that bananas are the best source of potassium, they arent a food recommended if you want to gain good blood sugar and A1C control. For example, one medium banana provides about 420 mg of potassium, but it also contains almost 30 grams of carbohydrates !
Thankfully there are plenty of low carb vegetables that are high in potassium and wont send your blood sugar soaring.
- Swiss chard, 1 cup = 961 mg
- Spinach, 1 cup = 839 mg
- Artichoke slices, 1 cup = 644 mg
- Chinese cabbage, 1 cup = 631 mg
- Tomato juice, 6 oz./ 177 ml = 417 mg
You can see that a few servings of green leafy veggies on your plate every day can provide you with enough potassium to begin improving your blood pressure.