Heart disease and heart attacks are a very real threat for many people. Over a million will have a heart attack each year. This is nothing to take lightly, as many people don’t get a second chance to recover from a heart attack. Over half a million people will die each year from heart disease, which is currently the leading cause of death. Cancer is the second leading cause of death. As a nation, we need to empower ourselves with knowledge and fight back!
If you’ve recently had a heart attack, now is the time to concentrate on some major lifestyle changes for improved health and recovery. The healing time after a heart attack is approximately eight weeks. During that time you need to be careful not to overdo it. Rest is vital to your recovery, but so is light activity. Follow your doctor’s advice, first and foremost.
So, what can one do to improve their health and to avoid a repeat attack? Check out some of these important steps below to find out.
- Quit Smoking – If you are a smoker, you may not like this advice very much. But, unfortunately, smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Talk with your doctor about quitting as soon as possible. There are many options to make the transition a smooth one. Nicotine replacement therapy can help you to deal with the withdrawal process. Electronic cigarettes have become quite popular these days as they deliver nicotine in a vapor form without the toxic smoke that comes from tobacco. Get counseling or read self-help materials to assist with the mental part of the addiction. There are support groups, telephone counseling services and wellness centers that can help you to deal with the emotional stress of quitting. You may find special groups within your workplace, local hospital or education centers that can provide group or individual support. You can also contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345.
- Clean Up Your Diet – Fast food restaurants and greasy diners should be avoided. Soda and alcohol should be consumed in moderation if at all. Choose healthier alternatives and make your own meals at home. Eat more fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes. Choose lean sources of protein without the skin, such as cold water varieties of fish (salmon, lake trout, herring, sardines and tuna), white meat chicken and pork. You can also get your heart healthy Omega’s in Supplement Form if you’re not a big fan of eating fish. If you would rather eat fish a couple of times per week, be sure to cook them in heart healthy coconut, palm or olive oils rather than canola or margarine. Baking it in the oven is always preferable to frying. Try to incorporate Healthy Fats while avoiding the unhealthy fats. Stay away from red meats or eat them sparingly. Limit your consumption of processed foods overall. Greasy chips, sodium laden snacks and highly processed foods and canned foods should be avoided. They contain too much salt and too many preservatives. A good rule of thumb to follow when shopping is to stick to the outside aisles of the grocery store in order to find the best selection of whole foods. Read labels thoroughly. If the list of ingredients has too many items that you can’t pronounce than it most likely isn’t a nutritious food.
- Manage Your Stress and Anger – Too much stress or negative feelings can contribute to heart disease. Practice relaxation techniques. Pray, do yoga, meditate and make time for yourself every day. If you work in an office, make time to get up and walk around or go outside in order to decompress. Listen to some relaxing music to take you away from the daily effects of work and kids. Additionally, you can get some relief by taking Pure Life Gab-Max Stress Relief and Anxiety Formula, 120 grams powder in order to see some immediate mood enhancing results. If you have severe daily stress such as constant anxiety or daily anger outbursts you may need to seek counseling to learn how to manage it effectively.
- Get Physical – Incorporating some form of daily exercise can reduce heart disease. Find something that you enjoy and make it a life-long habit. Go for a walk in the park, play tennis or another sport with a friend, ride your bike or enroll in a fitness class. Anything that will get your heart pumping and your muscles contracting for 20 – 30 minutes daily will increase your cardiovascular health.
- Maintain an Ideal Body Weight – If you are overweight the above diet recommendations can help you to achieve an ideal body weight. Use portion control and never eat less than 1,200 calories per day, as this will create a starvation mode within the body which is unhealthy and can even cause you to gain weight! Depending on your height, your activity level, age and metabolism your caloric intake can vary a great deal. Check out this Estimated Calorie Chart to find out how many calories your body needs. If you are trying to lose weight, reduce the recommended caloric number by 500 calories per day. Try to eat smaller portions more often. Eating every 2 hours can help to vamp up your metabolism. Be sure to eat enough protein and to go easy on the carbohydrates. Drink more water and stay away from those terrible diet drinks with fake sugars. Instead, opt for naturally flavored seltzer waters, freshly squeezed lemon water, freshly brewed teas and pure filtered water.
Armed with the knowledge above and the desire to become heart healthy, let’s get started! Making healthy choices in our lives not only benefits our physical and emotional health but the positive influence of our actions infiltrates into the lives of our loved ones. Our children learn to eat healthy, our spouses seem to be affected by our food and activity choices and we learn to find new and exciting ways of living!
By Colleen Moriarty, DR Vitamin Solutions