20 JUN 2022 NUTRITION & WELLNESS 4 MINS READ

5 Tips For A Healthier Heart

Recent data from the Malaysian Ministry of Health shows that cardiovascular diseases are among the main causes of death in the country. Little wonder that for the past few years, heart health has become a growing concern.

Responsible for fuelling your body with fresh oxygenated blood, this hardworking organ doesn’t receive the serious attention and proper care it deserves – and this has to change if you want to lead a healthy life.

Besides going for preliminary check-ups that could help prevent cardiovascular diseases, it’s also important for you to practise a healthy lifestyle.

Here are five tips for a healthier heart to ensure a better quality of life: 


1.   Watch your weight

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According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, one in two Malaysian adults suffer from abdominal obesity. The road to a healthy heart begins with a healthy weight that is in line with your height and age.

Practise a healthy lifestyle to maintain an ideal weight and stay between 18.5 to 24.9 on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale. If you find your BMI to be above 25.0, don’t wait! Take immediate action; change your diet and get active. It’s best to maintain an ideal weight from a young age, but it’s never too late to start.


2. Get your heart pumping

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When it comes to exercise, it’s important to choose one that you are most comfortable with for it to be sustainable. However, make sure you include cardio in your routine for a stronger heart. Aerobics, yoga, stretching and strength exercises are some of the best options for heart health.

The Health Ministry suggests at least 150 minutes of medium intensity physical activity per week. However, if you have any health conditions, consult a doctor before kickstarting any exercise routine or sports. Start early and increase the intensity gradually so your heart doesn’t get ‘shocked’ by sudden changes.


3. Add an Omega-rich supplement 

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Did you know foods rich in Omega-3 and DHA can help to keep your heart healthy? Supplements rich in Omega-3 and DHA prevent blood vessels from getting clogged due to the accumulation of cholesterol.

Studies show that fatty acid consumption among Malaysian respondents is low, i.e. between 0.22% and 0.28% kcal. This is below the recommended levels in Malaysia, which is between 0.301% and 1.20% kcal. Research further emphasises the need to consume Omega-3 or Omega Complex supplements.


4. Eat healthily

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When on the topic of health, you can’t run away from addressing food consumption. A balanced diet rich in nutrients is the best way to fight cardiovascular diseases. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, wheat grain and non-fat dairy products helps in maintaining cardiovascular health. There are many diet plans that you can choose from based on the advice of nutritionists.


5. Avoid smoking

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Smoking is injurious to health especially to organs such as the lungs and heart. Smoking damages the arteries and compromises heart functions which could lead to death. If you’re a heavy smoker, consider quitting to prevent cardiovascular diseases. It’s no easy feat and requires commitment and discipline, but do it for your heart’s sake.

Every effort taken for a healthier you creates a better life for yourself and your loved ones. Don’t neglect a healthy lifestyle and ensure that your heart is in good condition at all times.


References:

  1. https://iptk.moh.gov.my/images/technical_report/2020/4_Infographic_Booklet_NHMS_2019_-_BM.pdf
  2. Gi-Byoung Nam, Exercise, Heart and Health, Korean Circulation Journal 2011; 41(3): 113-121  
  3. https://iptk.moh.gov.my/images/technical_report/2020/4_Infographic_Booklet_NHMS_2019_-_BM.pdf
  4. https://www.amway.my/Categories/Kesihatan/Vitamin-dan-Makanan-Tambahan/Vitamin-Penting/Nutrilite-Salmon-Omega-Complex---60-gel-lembut/p/100066
  5. Ernst J Schaefer (2002) Lipoproteins, nutrition, and heart disease, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 75, Issue 2, February 2002, Pages 191–212, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/75.2.191
  6. A.Judson Wells, Passive smoking as a cause of heart disease, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Volume 24, Issue 2, 1994, Pages 546-554