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Preventing Heart Disease


1) Regular physical activity

This can include walking or cycling for at least 30 minutes per day 5 times per week. Regular exercise can help to increase your good cholesterol (HDL) which keeps your bad cholesterol (LDL) down. Regular exercise can also help to lower your blood pressure, maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of diabetes. Consult your doctor or nurse if you have any concerns regard exercising.

2) Eat a healthy diet

Reduce your saturated fats, sugar and salt. A high intake of saturated fats will increase your cholesterol level. Saturated fats are derived form animal products such as cakes, biscuits pastry ect. Substitute saturated fats with small amount of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Transfats act in a similar way to saturated fats they are formed when vegetable oils are hydrogenated producing hardened vegetable fats which are used in processed foods.

3) Increase your fruit and vegetable intake

Τhese contain antioxidant vitamins (beta- carotene vitamins C AND E) these help to prevent saturated fats from being exchanged into cholesterol. You should aim for at least 5 portions per day. Other foods which can help to lower your cholesterol are beans, lentils peas, oats all of which contain soluble fibre.

4) Fish

Such as mackerel, herring, kippers, salmon, trout and pilchards contain oils which can help to lower triglyceride levels and reduce your risk of thrombosis, the particular beneficial oil in fish is known as omega three, this can help to protect against heart disease.

5) Salt

There is a link between high salt intake and high blood pressure. About three quarters of salt eaten comes from processed foods. Try to avoid adding salt to food and in your cooking. Flavours can be added using herbs and spices.

6) Alcohol

Too much alcohol can damage the muscle of the heart increase blood pressure and lead to weight gain. Keep within the recommended guidelines for alcohol consumption. This is 3-4 units per week for men and 2-3 units per week for women. You should always avoid binge drinking.

7) Smoking

Τhis is a major cause of heart disease. It can raise blood cholesterol and speed up the development of atherosclerotic plaques that lead to the formation of blood clots leading to a higher risk of heart attacks.

8) Weight

Keep a healthy weight. Know what your body mass index is (this is your weight in relation to your height).

9) Blood pressure

It is important to keep this under control. High blood pressure is a cause of heart disease. You can help yourself by increasing your physical activity, reduce your weight and cut down on alcohol. medication for blood pressure should not be  stopped without consulting your doctor.

For further advice contact Dr Savvas Economides M.D. Medical services Ayia Napa Cyprus.

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