by Kevin DiDonato, MS, CSCS, CES
Statistics show that ONE out of every FOUR people WILL have a heart attack this year.
In 2008, which are the most recent statistics, the numbers show that 616,000 people DIED from heart disease that year – numbers that were UP from previous years.
Heart disease is the NUMBER ONE killer of men and women, surpassing cancer and other chronic diseases on the list.
That’s why it is highly recommended to change your diet and exercise programs to allow for improvements in your health and to decrease your heart disease risk.
So, what should you consider changing?
1. The TYPE of Beef that You Eat
There is a great deal of talk between your commercial steak and the steak made from grass-fed cows.
Commercial steak may NOT be the best choice if you want to prevent the development of heart disease, or worse, dying from a heart attack.
The cows that are used in commercial steak are fed a diet of mixed grains and CORN, which could spike inflammation and may lead to a poor lipid profile.
Plus, most commercial meat are pumped full of antibiotics –to fatten them up and prevent infections – which may be one reason for rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Grass-fed beef, on the other hand, is leaner and contains vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and other nutrients that have been shown to protect the heart and reduce the risk for heart disease.
2. Exercise a Minimum of 150 Minutes a Week
Statistics show that 60 percent of the WORLD’S population is inactive – meaning they don’t meet the minimum requirements for daily physical activity.
And this could be contributing to the rise in heart disease or the risk for having a heart attack.
Statistics show that people who are inactive may be 30 to 50 percent more likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack compared to those who exercised for 150 minutes a week.
Exercise has been shown to significantly lower risks associated with heart disease. There are improvements in blood pressure, cholesterol levels (lower LDL and higher HDL), and lower triglycerides.
The best form for heart health? Cardiovascular exercise (however, long duration cardio exercise has been shown to have adverse effects on heart health).
Strength training also increases lean muscle mass, which could improve sensitivity to insulin AND improver metabolism.
This could lead to lower weight gain AND improvements in your heart.
3. Stop Eating Out
Eating out could be by far the WORST thing for your heart health.
Why? Well, the portions are too high, they contain too many refined carbohydrates, are sodium-filled, and may contain a unhealthy dose of trans-fats.
Eating our frequently may lead to increased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which could increase your risk for heart disease.
Plus, the increased intake of trans-fats may also be linked to heart attacks and heart disease.
4. AVOID Second-Hand Smoke
Second-hand smoking may be a very large contributor to heart disease development.
The fact is, second-hand smoke contains over 7,000 different chemicals – all that may lead to heart disease development.
Statistics show that people exposed to second hand smoke may be 25 to 30 percent more likely to develop heart disease compared to those not exposed to smoking.
Also, second hand smoke may be linked to a 20 to 30 percent increased risk for stroke (over 8,000 strokes per year).
Exposure to smoke may change your arteries (makes platelets stickier) and could alter the normal functioning of your heart and blood vessels.
This could significantly increase your risk for a heart attack.
5. STOP Using Vegetable Oil
Vegetable was developing in the 1970’s as a way to reduce the intake of saturated fats in people’s diets.
Although it may lower cholesterol, it could put you at risk for developing heart disease or having a heart attack.
Vegetable oil, unlike other healthier oils, may contain too many omega6 fatty acids, which could increase systematic inflammation to occur in your body.
There are plenty of healthier options out there for cooking (olive oil, coconut oil, etc.) that may reduce your heart attack risk.
Take Home Message
One out of every four people could develop heart disease in their lifetime.
And this is why people need to make changes to their current lifestyle in order to prevent heart disease from developing.
By following the FIVE tips from above, then you may protect your heart and you may decrease your risk for heart disease.