LOW FAT, LOW CARB
Eat a well-balanced diet that includes fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It is important to keep note of the total fat and sodium in your everyday menu. And follow these tips — eat fruits without peeling. Have grilled, baked or roasted fish and chicken, not fried. Steam vegetables before seasoning to reduce fat intake. Limit oil to two to three teaspoons per day. Suggestion: eat a small amount of raw garlic daily.
CHECK YOUR WEIGHT
Extra weight increases cholesterol levels, blood pressure and increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Generally being overweight is defined as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of over 25. Those with BMI over 30 are considered to be obese.
KICK THE BUTT
Smoking increases the risk of heart disease. It causes an increase in blood pressure and leads to the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries. This accelerates the formation of blood clots which can cause a heart attack.
CHECK FOR DIABETES
If you are diabetic, then you are three times more likely to suffer from a coronary heart disease. Control of blood sugar levels will keep your heart safe. Reducing your sugar intake and checking food labels for hidden sugars is suggested.
Exercise burns calories, helps control cholesterol and keeps diabetes away. It also lowers blood pressure and makes the arteries more flexible. Those who actively burn about 3,500 calories a week, either at work or through exercise, live longer than those who don't.
Excessive alcohol can trigger high blood pressure, strokes and can cause irregular heart beat.
KNOW YOUR ROOTS
If your family has a history of heart disease, precaution is a must. Risk factors such as blood pressure, diabetes, obesity are passed from one generation to another.
KNOW YOUR BP
Keep a track of your blood pressure and immediately consult your doctor in case of heaviness in the chest, severe headache or uncommon bouts of anger. Blood pressure can vary with activity and age, but a healthy adult at rest generally has a systolic pressure reading between 120 and 130 and a diastolic pressure reading between 80 and 90 (or below).