ULTIMATE Guide: The Best Time To Start a Heart-Healthy Diet
October 8, 2021
Did you know you may be ‘eating healthy foods’ but not actually have a heart-healthy diet? If not, the information in this guide will surprise you.
For example, you may start eating differently to lose weight, but the type of food you are eating does not necessarily promote your heart health.
With this post, we start a series of articles looking at how to eat a heart-healthy diet and what heart-healthy foods to take. But first – Why is a heart-healthy diet important?
It’s easy to forget about your heart when everything feels ok.
But, unfortunately, so many of us in our twenties, thirties or forties hardly give it a second thought unless we are born with a heart condition or develop specific problems like palpitations or chest pain.
However, this is the stage where paying attention to your heart, even if it’s simply an awareness of how it works – or as you would do to your hair, face, or nails will be a fantastic investment to avoid future illness.
Heart disease slowly develops, and these days, we are increasingly suffering more forms of illness related to heart conditions.
Women, in particular, are at significant risk of heart disease even though traditionally, we find heart disease earlier and more frequently in men.
One of the reasons for this is that heart disease symptoms in women are often ignored or attributed to something else, so the problem worsens, and women fail to seek help till it is pretty late or complicated.
Another reason is the Oestrogen effect.
As a woman gets into her forties, she is also approaching the transition phase to menopause. Menopause is the natural process of ageing. The ovaries stop making hormones, and your periods stop.
In fact, by 40, many women are already perimenopausal – that means the transition has slowly started though you may not experience too many symptoms at this early stage.
Before you start menopause, your body makes a lot of the hormone, Oestrogen. Oestrogen, in particular, helps protect women, reducing their risk of heart attacks.
But after menopause, the oestrogen levels fall, removing that protection.
The lower Oestrogen levels mean that by the time you are 60 or 65 years, you may have the same risk as a man of the same age to getting heart disease.
However, if you could keep your heart healthy well before your body starts to experience the loss of Oestrogen, you could ensure that you are less at risk for heart problems.
Maintaining a healthy heart means you are less likely to develop conditions like:
All of these conditions affecting heart health can reduce your quality of life, meaning frequent trips to the hospital with the associated costs.
They can also reduce the number of years you live with the impact of all this on you and your family.
So this is why you should keep your heart healthy – but next, how can you do so?
Fortunately, you don’t have to do many BIG things!
The heart is a muscular organ with small and big tubes coming in and out of it carrying blood.
It needs to pump properly, and its tubes need to be free of any blockages to keep you alive. In addition, the average human heart pumps around 9,000 litres of blood around the body every day. That is a lot of work.
To pump correctly, your heart needs lean, non-fatty muscle that responds to instructions from the brain and other hormones.
A fatty heart or one with diseased muscle can’t respond to these messages. In addition, if the blood vessels get too thick inside or blocked by fat, the heart’s function is also affected.
Just like other muscles in our bodies, what we eat and how we move affects the health of the muscle.
Thus, your diet and activity are the two principal ways under your control to keep your heart healthy.
Another way is by avoiding stress.
These are three main things we can influence to some extent to promote heart health.
Our focus for this series is a healthy heart diet.
The goals of a heart-healthy diet are to eat foods that help promote the best way for your heart to work.
All of that essentially translates to getting or maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
Next time, our focus is what type of eating plan or foods make up a heart-healthy diet?
Drop a line in the comments below what type of foods you feel are good for promoting heart health.
If you wish to discuss this topic with us – contact us here for a one to one chat.
Editing by AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on a wide range of healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly
Image Credits: Unsplash
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