The heart is the hardest working muscle in the body. It beats over 100,000 times and pumps over 9,500 litres of blood through the body each and every day. Without a properly functioning heart, the body is deprived of the oxygen and nutrients it needs for optimal function.
That's why maintaining cardiovascular health is so important- it affects every part of our body. However, despite improvements in medicine and technology, cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the world.
While it tends to strike men earlier in their lives, it affects both genders and can be a severe and debilitating condition leading to frequent hospitalizations and prescription medications.
The good news is that cardiovascular disease can be prevented through diet and life style changes. Studies continue to support the role of exercise, nutrition and health diet in preventing heart disease. Whether you are young or old, everyone can benefit from improving diet and lifestyle to prevent this debilitating condition.
This issue of News You Can Use will go into some of the latest nutrition research in the heart health and provide tips for how to keep your ticker ticking.
Omega-3s:The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings of fatty fish per week to support heart health and for good reason. A large body of evidence supports the role that omega-3's play in protecting against cardiovascular disease by decreasing triglycerides levels, slowing the growth rate of atherosclerotic plaque and lowering blood pressure.
And now a recent study published by a global consortium of researchers known as the Fatty Acids and Outcomes Research Consortium, or FORCE, found that omega-3 fatty acids from seafood and plant-based foods are associated with a lower risk of fatal heart attack.
By pooling data from diverse large studies from 16 countries that included more than 45,639 participants, researchers found that omega-3s were associated with 10% lower risk of fatal heart attacks.
These foundings are the most comprehensive to date of how omega-3s may influence heart disease and support the importance of fish and omega-3 consumption in the heart health.
Exercise:One of the best thing you can do for your heart is to get moving! Our sedentary lifestyles put us at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease because the heart is not working to its full potential and grows weaker over time. Staying active is one of the top ways to improve overall cardiovascular health.
Benefits include improved cholesterol and fat levels, reduced inflammation in the arteries, weight loss, more elastic blood vessels, and improved blood flow/pressure.
For children and adolescents, the US Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least an hour of physical activity a day, including muscle and bone strengthening activities at least three times a week.
For adults, the weekly recommendation is 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise, 75 minutes of vigorously intense exercise, or a combination of the two. A good way for individuals who are not currently active to get started is to go for walks and then gradually increase the duration or distance.
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