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Healthy lifestyle: Recommended lifestyle changes

[Source – www.nhlbi.nih.gov]

Weight management
Dietary factors
Smoking
Alcohol
Stress

Weight management

Obesity is a risk factor for hypertension, stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Excess weight puts extra strain on the heart, which makes it harder for the heart to pump oxygen to tissues of the body.

Losing weight can help you feel better and help your heart function better, too. Some general weight-loss tips are to avoid high-calorie foods, reduce portion sizes, and avoid fats, oils and sugars.

Dietary factors

Key recommendations for a heart-healthy include:

> Eat a balanced diet with plenty of high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
> Eat fish (especially oily fish, like salmon and trout) at least twice a week. Oily fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower the risk of death from heart disease.
> Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
> Limit daily consumption of foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol, such as red meat, shellfish and egg yolks.
> Restrict your salt intake to 1500 mg a day.
> Consume only a moderate amount of caffeine per day, no more than two cups of coffee.
> If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. This means no more than one drink per day for women and one to two drinks per day for men.
> Exercise regularly (at least 30 minutes a day).

Smoking

Smoking is bad for your heart as well as your lungs. Cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide. which interferes with your body’s oxygen carrying ability, and is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and heart failure.

Alcohol

Alcohol can depress the contraction function of the heart. If you choose to drink alcohol, you should consume no more than one drink per day. One drink is equivalent to one glass of beer or wine, or a mixed drink containing no more than 30mL of alcohol. In more serious situations of heart failure, you should avoid alcohol altogether.

Stress

It’s important to take time to control the amount of stress and activity in your life. Listen to your body’s signals and stop activities that make you feel unwell.

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