Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Heart health

Stop smoking
This nasty habit is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease. Experts recommend stubbing out this addiction to make a huge difference in your overall health.

Focus on the middle
Your middle, that is. You don’t have to be super-thin to reap the benefits of a smaller waistline, but according to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, carrying too much weight around the middle raises blood pressure, negatively affects blood lipids, and does other damage to the heart. Abdominal exercises are good, but remember: it’s calories in (what you eat) and calories out (how you exercise) that will make a difference.

Play between the sheets
…Or on top of the sheets, or in the kitchen, or wherever! Yep, having sex can be heart healthy. A number of studies show that sexual activity adds more than pleasure to your life. It can actually lower your blood pressure and your risk for developing heart disease.

Let the music move you
Whether it’s a rumba beat or a two step tune that gets your body moving, dancing raises your heart rate, burns some calories (between 150-300 calories an hour), and makes for a great heart-healthy workout.

Go fish
Studies have shown that including fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (i.e. salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna) in your diet can reduce the risk of heart disease by a third or more. To those concerned about the mercury content or other contaminants in fish, the Mayo Clinic states that the heart healthy benefits outweigh the possible risks of exposure to toxic elements.

Not in an email, not on Twitter or Facebook, but really: laugh out loud. If you like watching comedy movies, if they get you chuckling, it’s good for your heart. Research from the University of Maryland Medical Centre shows that laughter helps relieve the stress that damages the endothelium, the tissue that forms the inner lining of blood vessels and helps your blood flow. It also promotes the healthy function of blood vessels.