You are probably no stranger to the concept of cardiovascular diseases. After all, this is a global issue – it is estimated that around 17.9 million people die from CVDs globally every year. This accounts for about 31 percent of deaths around the world!
Unfortunately, this rate is so high, considering that it is possible to prevent or ward off cardiovascular diseases! All you have to do is alter your lifestyle so that you are cutting down the risk of developing these conditions.
On this note, here are the “secrets” to significantly reduce your chances of being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease:
Make Lifelong Changes
Reducing your risk of heart disease isn’t like trying to shed a couple of pounds. It isn’t enough to make short-term or temporary changes to your lifestyle. No, you need to work on improving your lifestyle for the rest of your life. Thus, it is important to come up with enhancements that you can readily incorporate into your daily schedule.
It is only by following a long-term plan that you can truly ensure that your body is healthy as a whole. Thus, not only will be able to cut down on being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, but you will also be able to enjoy a higher quality of life.
Incorporate More Physical Activity Every Day
Do you work behind a desk? If so, there is a good chance that you don’t move around a lot each day. Well, most experts recommend that you get around 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every single day. This is the bare minimum – the more activity you can include in your daily schedule, the better.
If you think that exercise is just for weight management, think again. Exercise works to reduce your blood pressure and your LDL and total cholesterol levels. At the same time, it also helps to increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) and insulin sensitivity. In doing so, physical activity can do a lot to cut on cardiovascular diseases.
It isn’t enough just to hit the gym for an hour or so every day. You should try to incorporate more movement into your daily life, in general. For instance, try walking instead of driving and taking the stairs rather than taking the elevator. If you do have a sedentary job, break up your day with short bursts of activity.
Improve Your Diet
Most people will encourage you to adopt a healthier diet. However, what does this mean? More importantly, how can you change your diet to prevent cardiovascular diseases? Well, here are the foods that are most likely to be responsible for the development of these medical conditions:
- Saturated fats
- Trans fats
- Refined grains
- Added sugars
One of the first things you should do is to reduce your consumption of red meat and processed meat. Whenever possible, get your protein and fats from healthy plant sources. Try to eat a plant-based diet most of the time, this can help you a great deal.
Of course, this doesn’t automatically mean that plant-based oils are all healthy. Some plant oils, especially ones that have been processed (hydrogenated oils) can result in cardiovascular diseases. Thus, you should always be aware of what you are consuming.
In particular, you should reduce your consumption of processed foods. Whenever possible, eat home-cooked food so that you have greater control over how your meals are being prepared. If you are ordering out or purchasing ready-made items, pay close to attention to the ingredients.
It isn’t just about cutting certain foods out of your diet – it is equally important that you consume the right kind of foods as well. For one thing, replace your refined grains with whole grains – not only are these healthier, but they have a higher fiber content as well.
Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts. And, moderate your consumption of healthy fats such as olive oil. Some foods can further reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.
For instance, you may have been aware of the many benefits of green tea. However, did you also know that lower your LDL and total cholesterol levels? Evidence showed that people who drank green tea regularly were up to 31 percent less likely to develop cardiovascular diseases.
Get Adequate Amounts of Sleep
People seem to be sleeping less than ever before. This may be due to longer work hours or greater dependence on digital devices. Either way, it appears that a majority of the population isn’t getting the kind of sleep that they need. Experts have found that a lack of sleep can increase the risk of CVDs.
On average, you should be sleeping seven hours a day. This helps your body to function at optimal levels and also to reduce the chances of developing a wide variety of diseases. Proper sleep is associated with lower blood pressure levels, appropriate body weight, and a reduced diabetes diagnosis.
At the same time, avoid sleeping too much. Getting more sleep than necessary can increase your chances of developing a CVD. Thus, it is a balancing act – focusing on getting 7 hours of rest is the best outcome for you.
The easiest way to improve your sleep schedule is to organize your day more appropriately. Make sure that your work, exercise, and other commitments can be arranged in a way to allow you your seven hours. In doing so, you will find it far easier to stick to better sleep patterns.
Consistency is also key here. It isn’t enough to only get proper sleep on some days – you should be striving for seven hours, seven days a week. This is because you can’t catch up on lost sleep. Therefore, if you aren’t getting enough sleep for most of the week, you could be increasing your risk of CVDs.
These are all the precautions you should be taking every day. The good news is that after a while, all these elements will become habitual and you won’t even notice how your life has changed for the better.