This World Heart Day, take the chance to make a change! Protect your heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases with these simple heart-healthy tips.
We have all heard this before, and sometimes we get inspired to join the neighbourhood Zumba class for a month or two, then fall off the bandwagon again. But with nearly 1 out of 3 deaths in Singapore occurring due to heart disease or stroke, it’s about time we all made some changes to our largely popular sedentary lifestyles in order to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses like cardiovascular disease. Join the neighbourhood gym, or simply start with weekly walks with the kids, and turn it into regular walks 3 times a week no matter how busy you get. Slowly adding more activity into various parts of your life, like taking the stairs instead of the escalator at the MRT, will ease your body into the habit of exercise, and generally improve your overall well-being.
This is probably another phrase that has been overused in the past 5 years and you’re probably tired of hearing if you have not actively made the decision to improve your diet. Even though it is typically hard to stick to any kind of diet in Singapore unless you’re a passionate health enthusiast or committed gym-goer, it is possible with a few simple steps. The first step is definitely deciding that you want to do it. Once you’ve made your mind up, surround yourself with healthy choices. Make sure the house is rid of unhealthy snacks and quick-fixes like microwave food. If you have the time, switch to shopping only on the outer aisles in the supermarket, and prepare home-made food for the whole family while refraining from deep-frying and using too much salt. If you need to eat out, look for options with the Healthier Choice Symbol, and stick to dishes which have a healthy portion of protein, a serving of vegetables and sufficient amount of carbohydrates. Refrain from deep-fried food and try to stick to options with less sugar, oil and starch.
It may seem like the most common thing, but are we really drinking enough water? Some parents continuously remind your children to drink water, but often forget that you neglect to drink enough water yourself! Think about the drink you had with breakfast and lunch today: was it plain water or a cup of tea or coffee? The average amount of water an adult should drink is 1.8 – 2.5L a day – all plain without any kind of flavouring. When you drink enough water, your cells are well hydrated, which means your tissues and organs are able to function optimally and help you to rid the body of toxins. It also means that your body’s ability to burn energy stores is elevated and less excess fat is stored in the body! Grab your water bottle now!
Not many people are aware that oral healthcare has an impact on heart health. Severe gum disease can lead to increased risk of stroke and heart attack – one study found that people with severe gum disease reported 40% more chronic conditions such as liver disease, coronary heart disease and even congestive heart failure than those without! Make sure that you take good care of your oral health and remember to go for regular dentist checkups every 6 months.
At the end of the day, the key to health is remembering to live in moderation and choosing to stay happy. Happy World Heart Day!