When people think about heart problems, they usually think about heart attacks. This isn’t the only heart problem, however. The largest problem is coronary artery disease: this is when the blood vessels feeding the heart get hard, narrow, and can even get plugged up.
But what can we do to help prevent heart disease?
Dr. Nicole Hwang, ND of the Nirvana Wellness Centre in Brampton, Ontario suggests the following:
- Increasing fruits and veggies: So many helpful nutrients come from fruits and vegetables, it is impossible to list them all here. People who eat more vegetables and fruits have fewer heart problems than those who eat only a little.
- Controlling blood sugar: Adults with diabetes have more frequent heart disease. If we can decrease our blood sugar, this will help fight heart disease. Decreasing calories in general, and specifically decreasing refined carbohydrates will help.
- Quitting smoking: If you smoke, quitting is the single biggest change you can make to improve your health. Smoking is bad for your lungs, and it also causes long-term changes to the blood vessels in your whole body.
- Exercising more and losing weight: People who exercise regularly have been shown to have fewer heart problems and live longer than those who don’t exercise at all. Even 30 minutes of walking a day is great!
- Reducing stress: Increased levels of chronic stress and lower mood/depression are associated with having heart attacks. Doing our best to stay mindful, though difficult, is important for our bodies and minds.
“Making lifestyle changes can be challenging, and so I recommend that my clients buddy-up with someone who wants to make the same changes so that they’re providing each other support and cheering one another on,” says Dr. Hwang