One in every four deaths is caused by heart disease, so try these things that are naturally good for your heart. As much as we love Singapore’s warm weather, the dog days of high summer can be especially dangerous for those who have heart disease, are over the age of 50, or are overweight, according to the American Heart Association. Protect your ticker all year round with these good-for-your-heart tips:
#1 Monitor your heart
Traditionally, taking an ECG (electrocardiogram) reading means you have to visit a doctor, get hooked up to a machine and then have these readings printed out for the cardiologist to analyse. That’s all about to change with the new Apple Watch update which has just been rolled out for the Apple Watch Series 4.
Using the ECG app, you can now monitor your heart beat using the electronic heart sensor, which is able to detect atrial fibrillation (AFib), a type of arrhythmic heart beat. Because the Apple Watch is on your wrist most of the time, it’s easy to record these readings and have them downloaded to your phone. The Apple Watch has been tested to be able to detect AFib, and notify you to check with a medical practitioner if there is any irregularity in your heartbeat.
While it’s not a replacement for professional medical advice, the Apple Watch will be able to complement any follow ups with your doctor with real-time readings whenever you’re feeling discomfort, or suspect skipped and irregular heartbeats.
#2 Drink pomegranate juice
Sipping on pomegranate juice and snacking on dates is a heart-healthy combo, according to Israeli researchers. Drinking half a glass of pomegranate juice paired with three dates can help keep plaque from building up in your arteries.
#3 Go semi-vegetarian
There are plenty of benefits to going vegetarian. Those who ate 70 percent of their food from plant sources had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who ate more meat.
#4 Adopt a Mediterranean diet
The diet typical for people in countries around the Mediterranean has been shown to reverse metabolic syndrome and drastically reduce the risk for diabetes. Greek researchers also found that adopting a Mediterranean diet can reduce heart disease risk by 47 per cent.
#5 Ditch energy drinks
Energy drinks have been shown to raise resting blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic researchers, which could increase the risk for a heart attack. Those who typically drank less caffeine were affected the most by this blood pressure spike.
#6 Eat more omega-3 fatty acids
For those with hearts that are already damaged from a previous heart attack, taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may help protect against further health declines. Researchers found that taking prescription omega-3 capsules for six months had greater improvements in heart function and less fibrosis.
#7 Eat cheese
Ironically, the food that protects against heart disease may be a notoriously fatty one: cheese. Danish researchers found that people who ate cheese had higher fecal levels of butyrate, a compound produced by gut bacteria. These people also had lower cholesterol.
#8 Be grateful
Strengthen your heart with love. Sounds a little cheesy, but according to research from the journal Spirituality in Clinical Practice, patients with better moods had better sleep, less fatigue, and lower levels of inflammatory biomarkers related to cardiac health.
#9 Eat chocolate
According to research published in the journal Heart, eating up to 100 grams of chocolate daily was linked to an 11 percent decrease in heart disease and stroke risk. Plus, those who ate chocolate had a 25 percent lower risk of death.
#10 Get fresh air
Pollution doesn’t just affect your breathing or allergies; it can also hurt your heart. Research from the NYU Langone Medical Center found that people who are exposed to higher levels pollution were 24 percent more likely to suffer from stroke.
#11 Get more vitamin D
Vitamin D may be essential for healthy hearts, especially as you age. Researchers from Loyola University found an association between vitamin D deficiency and not only heart disease, but also other chronic diseases associated with ageing.