Seven simple steps towards heart health

In 2010, the American Heart Association introduced “Life’s Simple Seven,” which were steps the public could take to reduce their risk of developing heart disease. A new study informs us that over the span of 11 years, people who met three or four of the heart health steps had a 55% lower risk of cardiac mortality than those who adhered to two or fewer of the criteria. Here are the heart health goals:

The American Heart Association’s SIMPLE SEVEN LIFESTYLE FACTORS:

1. GET ACTIVE. Your heart is your most valuable muscle. Strengthen it! The more recently proposed suggestion on daily exercise has increased to include at least 30 minutes DAILY of moderate physical activity such as brisk walking.

2. CONTROL YOUR CHOLESTEROL. This means establishing a count of lower than 200mg/dL.

3. EAT BETTER. Tufts University, in their Health & Nutrition Letter/Volume 13G prints the American Heart Association’s advice to establishing a heart-healthy diet. The main steps are as follows:

a. Eat a variety of deeply colored vegetables and fruits.

b. Eat whole-grain foods which are unrefined and fiber-rich..

c. Eat fish at least twice weekly. For additional protein, try skinless lean meats and poultry without additional saturated and trans fat added. *Select fat-free, 1% fat, and dairy products with low-fat.

d. Cut back on trans and saturated fats, cholesterol and added sugars.

e. Choose and prepare foods with little or no salt. Try to eat less than 1500 milligrams of sodium daily. *For more help, consult mylifecheck.heart.org.

4. MANAGE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE. Try to get it lower than 120/80 mm Hg.

5. LOSE WEIGHT. Manage to keep a normal BMI or Basal Metabolic Index.

6. REDUCE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR. Here your goal is to achieve a fasting glucose below 100.

7. STOP SMOKING.

Another piece of research conducted comparing adherence to these same above coronary goals, was presented by Dr. Enrique Artero at the University of South Carolina. Named the Aerobics Longitudinal Study, it used 11,993 participants with an average age of 46. Published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, it too revealed that “the more factors a person met, the lower the risk of death from heart disease. For those who met five to seven of the criteria, risk was 63% lower than those meeting the fewest.”

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