You may have experienced a broken heart once or twice in your lifetime from a relationship break-up. This type of broken heart is in most cases repairable. But there is another type of broken heart that is not so easily fixed – a diseased heart from poor lifestyle habits.
Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death among men in Australia and New Zealand. For a 40 year old man, the risk of developing heart disease at some time in the future is one in two. The good news is that a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and exercise, has a positive effect on your heart and can help to prevent an early death from failure of this vital organ.
Ten tips for a strong ticker
In order to keep your heart happy, you need to treat it with respect:
- Don´t smoke.
- Control your body weight.
- Enjoy a healthy diet with a variety of foods from the core food groups.
- Limit your intake of foods high in saturated fat such as fatty meats, pastries, pies, biscuits, creamy sauces, butter, lard, ghee, copha, cream, coconut milk and coconut cream.
- Drink alcohol in moderation.
- Keep active – aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking, on all or most days of the week.
- Have regular check-ups with you doctor.
- Have your blood cholesterol tested and know your level of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ blood fats.
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
- Manage your stress levels.
Fuel for your heart and soul
Try one of these tasty and nutritious food ideas to feed your heart (and soul):
- Make vegetables and grain-based foods the focus of each meal. Include a variety of fresh, canned or frozen vegetables and salad, breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, noodles, rice and cous cous.
- Try and have two legume-based meals each week. Legumes include baked beans, four bean mix, chick peas, red kidney beans, cannellini beans, lentils and split peas. They can easily be added to soups, stews, casseroles and curries.
- Eat fish at least twice a week. This includes fresh fish and canned fish like canned tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring.
- Select lean meats like skinless chicken, lean beef, lean veal, Trim Lamb, New Fashioned Pork and kangaroo. Avoid or limit fatty meats like sausages and hamburger mince and deli meats like kabana, salami, chicken roll, devon, strassburg, mortadella and liverwurst.
- Use margarine spreads instead of butter or dairy blends.
- Use only a small amount of oil in your cooking or salads. Choose a polyunsaturated oil like sunflower or soybean oil, or a monounsaturated oil like canola, olive or peanut oil.
- Choose low fat or reduced fat dairy foods like milk, cheese, yogurt, custard and ice cream.
- Snack on fresh fruit and plain, unsalted nuts.
- Try to restrict takeaway foods (e.g. pizza, hamburgers, fried chicken, pies, pastries and creamy pasta dishes) to once a week.
- Go easy on snack foods like potato crisps, corn chips, cakes, pastries and cream-filled biscuits. A small treat once a week is OK, but try not to go over that.