Cardiovascular health is always in the spotlight. Numerous famous business people and stars have suffered including Orville Wright, Christopher Reeve, Dean Jones and Brittany Murphy - with less than 8% of people surviving cardiac arrest. Cardiovascular disease can come in many forms, and often have many different causes. Research shows that dietary and lifestyle factors, as well as family history, can all increase risk. The good news is, there are positive changes you can make today to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
If you’re worried about your heart health, check out this resource: Heart Age Calculator
You’ve probably heard this before – but smoking and drinking alcohol can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Smoking can increase your risk four-fold for mortality from heart disease. Alcohol abuse of any kind can increase risk of heart attack by 40%!
Stress also plays a key role in cardiovascular health. Chronic, excessive stress can contribute to high blood pressure and unbalanced cholesterol. Stress can cause people to increase smoking, eating an unhealthy diet, drinking and reduce physical activity. This is because stress releases adrenaline, putting your body into a fight or flight response, thus increasing heart rate and blood pressure.
Physical activity and body weight also play a key role in cardiovascular health. Research shows that exercising for at least 150 minutes a week lowers blood pressure, cholesterol and helps maintain weight. Furthermore, physical activity can reduce risk of Type 2 Diabetes, another independent risk factor to cardiovascular disease. Those who are less active and ‘fit’ have a 30-50% increased risk for developing high blood pressure. Any movement is helpful in improving cardiovascular health – it doesn’t need to be a sweat sesh at the gym, even a 30 minute walk 5 days a week can decrease your risk!
Eat your way to a healthy heart! Diet plays a key role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. More and more research is released daily showing that a whole-foods, plant-based diet is protective against cardiovascular disease. Functional diets such as the Mediterranean Diet have multiple benefits for cardiovascular function as it is based on high consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. The basis for the diet is as follows:
- Eat more fruit and veg – try get 7-10 servings a day!
- Opt the refined for the whole – whole-grain bread for white can be the first swap you try
- Use healthy fats – yes, there is such a thing – try find fats/oils that are high in omega-3 such as olive oil, nuts and seeds, and fish such as sardines and mackerel!
"Today new Australian research added to the growing body of evidence showing consuming EVOO [extra virgin olive oil] everyday can help you to lower your blood pressure and in turn this helps to protect your heart and vascular system throughout the body. Awesome right? The question though is how much do you need to benefit? Pulling all the studies together gives us a pretty clear idea and the answer is at least 3 tablespoons (45ml) a day... What is crucial is that the oil must be extra virgin olive oil. If it is just 'olive oil' or 'pure oil' or 'light olive oil' it has been refined. That removes almost all of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant polyphenols and it is these that are delivering most of the health benefits." - Dr Joanna McMillan @drjoannamcmillan
- Eat more seafood & less red meat – it’s believed those living on the Mediterranean eat fish at least twice a week, and often substitute meat for fish, chicken, or legumes.
- Spice it up – there’s no loss of flavour here, use lots of herbs and spices to make dishes pop!
Nutrients & Supplements
A good diet and plenty of movement through exercise is the cornerstone for the health of your heart. The health professionals at GR8 Health know which substances are beneficial to support the heart and the following products have been carefully selected for the health of your cardiovascular system. Check out our favourite cardiovascular support supplements here.