Maintain heart health

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One person has a heart attack every two minutes in the UK. Three of them die within 24 hours. Here are the most important tips to keep your heart healthy and protect it:

Facts about heart disease
• Heart disease is the leading cause of death in England.
• 2.7 million people in the UK suffer from heart disease.
• South Asian people are among the most likely to develop heart disease.

There are approximately 2.7 million people in the UK suffering from coronary heart disease. It is the largest killer in the UK, with about 82,000 deaths a year.

About one in five men and one in eight women die as a result of the disease. The risk of coronary heart disease among people of South Asian descent is 50% higher than the national average.

But things may be different. Most of the premature deaths caused by cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease, can be prevented by people younger than 75 years of age.

What is coronary heart disease?
1. Coronary heart disease occurs when the blood supply to the heart muscle is reduced because of severe narrowing of the arteries of the heart or, worse, when these arteries are closed.
2. This occurs gradually as a result of accumulation of fatty deposits, which resemble porridge, inside the arteries, which interferes with the normal flow of blood to the heart.
3. However, there are many things you can do to keep your heart healthy, whatever your age, sex or ethnicity.
4. If you are in the group that is at risk of coronary heart disease because of a family history of coronary heart disease or an ethnic background, you can still reduce the chance of your injury.

“By eating good food, quitting smoking and exercising, you can significantly reduce the risk of getting it,” says Dennis Armstrong, a heart research specialist in the UK.

Eat healthy foods
• Your diet can make a big difference in your heart’s health. About a third of the food you eat should be fruits and vegetables. There should be another third of starchy foods, including bread, cereals, pasta, rice and potatoes.
• “Whole grains and brown beans are the best varieties because of their fiber,” says Armstrong. The remaining one-third should include moderate amounts of dairy, meat, fish and vegetable substitutes, as well as low amounts of fat and sugar.
• Reduce your total fat intake, especially saturated fat and trans fat. They increase the levels of cholesterol, and thus are harmful to the heart.

Foods containing saturated fats include butter, hard cheese, fatty meats, biscuits, cakes, cream, lard, grease, margarine, coconut oil and palm oil.

“You should replace high-fat foods with low-fat or low-fat foods and put small amounts of unsaturated fats in your diet as good for your cholesterol levels,” Armstrong said.

Eating moderate amounts of unsaturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats is good for cholesterol levels.

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