PICJ provides various diagnostic services that can assist you in establishing your health goals or intervening before it becomes challenging. They also have specialists like a nutritionist, general practitioners and cardiac experts, who can help you live a heart-healthy lifestyle.
Take a move and get your body going
Exercise helps get our heart pumping. Regular physical activity can improve your heart function, decrease your blood pressure, and maintain a healthy weight. It also lowers your risk of diabetes and increases HDL or “good” cholesterol, which reduces the risk of heart disease. Dr Christian suggests 30 minutes of some type of aerobics exercise, ideally at least four times a week. Keep in mind, the intensity depends on what you can manage. The most important thing is to get up and get moving!
Some great examples of aerobic exercises include running, cycling, brisk walking, swimming, jump rope, and dance. Check out YouTube or Instagram for at-home exercises for every skill level. You can even find videos that incorporate everyday items instead of costly gym equipment. Remember to keep yourself well hydrated!
Incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables
Adding more plant-based options at mealtime is definitely beneficial to your heart health. Fruits and vegetables are proven to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene. A high-fiber diet has many proven benefits, as fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improves blood vessel function, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
Which fruits and veggies are best for improving heart function? Apples, pears, oranges, and other citrus fruits; green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, cabbage; and green and yellow vegetables such as green beans and carrots. If you’re on medication, it’s important to be aware of how food and your medication interact. Read through guides carefully and always take as directed.
Vegan or vegetarian diets are ahead of the curve. However, being purely vegan comes with some concerns around vitamin deficiencies such as B12 deficiency. Dr Christian says while there isn’t anything wrong with a purely vegan diet, persons may need supplementation with additional vitamins to counter what they would be lacking.
Cutting back on sugar and managing stress
One of the most significant factors that impact heart health is stress. Many of the consequences of stress, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, lead to heart disease. Finding ways to cope with stress is crucial. Whether through your new exercise routine, taking up something calming like yoga, meditation, or even using deep breathing exercises, there are lots of little things you can put in your daily routine to minimize the effects of stress.
People often rely on substances like cigarettes to escape the grind of life. However, they are not a healthy way to cope with stress. The most important modifiable risk factor in heart disease is smoking. “You would do yourself a big favor by quitting smoking, even if it requires seeking help,” Dr Christian said.
Equally important is getting good sleep. Sleep gives your body time to restore and goes a long way in improving your overall physical health. Dr Christian suggests making it intentional by going to sleep at the same time or getting as close to a full eight hours as possible.
Even if you don’t have a chronic illness, Dr Christian still emphasizes getting a routine check-up, especially once you’re over the age of 40 or have a family history of illness.
“Don’t assume just because you’re young you’re immune from getting sick,” she says. “We all need a wellness check. There are some diseases that are silent, and you don’t discover them unless you go and get checked.”