by Health Me Up
1. Eat like the Greeks
Studies have shown that the consumption of healthy fats like those found in the Mediterranean diet can reduce the chance of developing heart disease. Greek men have longer life expectancies than men in other European and North American countries, and it’s likely that the traditional Greek diet has a lot to do with this. Olive oil, legumes, vegetables, seafood, and wine are all common foods that are consumed in Mediterranean countries. A recent study at the University of Athens in Greece showed that individuals who ate foods commonly associated with a Mediterranean diet had CRP (C-reactive protein) levels that were 20 percent lower than those who didn’t eat like the Greeks; this is important because CRP has been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Simply replacing butter with olive oil and choosing seafood over other meat can positively impact your heart health.
Smoking cigarettes has been one of the leading causes of heart disease and cancer in the U.S. for decades. The good news is that the amount of smokers in the United States has been steadily decreasing over the last few years; the bad news is that smoking is becoming more common in Asian countries like China and India. While many people think that smoking only causes breathing problems and lung cancer, the reality is that 20 percent of deaths from heart disease have a direct correlation to smoking. Smoking reduces oxygen in the heart, increases blood pressure and clotting, and damages the cells that line coronary arteries, leading to coronary artery disease. To quit smoking, you have to be both mentally and emotionally prepared. It’s a difficult path, often fraught with plenty of cravings, but the end result is a healthier heart.
3. Take a walk
It sounds ridiculous that something so simple could have an immense impact on your health, but it’s true. Exercise doesn’t have to come in the form of running on the treadmill or lifting weights for an hour at the gym; simply going for a walk a few times a week can reduce the chance of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. In addition, walking makes you feel good and can help trim your waistline. And that metaphor about exercise only being effective if you’re sore the next day isn’t true: research shows that brisk walking can reduce the probability of a heart attack on the same scale that jogging does.
4. The takeaway
Although the development of heart disease is certainly influenced by genetics, healthy lifestyle changes can have a massive impact on your heart. So eat foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet, don’t smoke, and get regular exercise if you want to prevent heart disease so you can live a long and healthy life.
Read more in Times of India
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.