8 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease

Heart disease may be deadly, but with these eight simple tips, it can be prevented.

A woman sitting in front of her laptop in the dark while holding her chest.

Did you know that the primary cause of death for the last two decades in Malaysia is heart disease? If you think this doesn’t concern you because it mostly afflicts seniors over 60, think again! Data shows that heart disease is a major cause of death for people aged between 41 and 59. However, there are ways to prevent heart disease.

It doesn’t have to be this way. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), 80 percent of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable. And since we know now that it can end up fatal even for the middle-aged population, it will be better if prevention starts as early as possible. 

The article below will discuss eight ways to prevent heart problems. Let’s check them out! 

8 Ways to Prevent Heart Disease 

From dietary to lifestyle changes, these eight tricks may help you avoid developing heart disease.

Have a Healthy, Balanced Diet  

The WHO says that eating a balanced diet is crucial for a healthy heart and circulation system. Some of the foods that can reduce the risk of heart disease include: 

  • Fruits and vegetables. 
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, oats, and corn
  • Low-fat, high-protein meat like beef, turkey, and chicken breast.
  • Fish like salmon and tuna that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids 
  • Spices such as garlic, pepper, coriander, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon are great sources of antioxidants. 
  • Lingzhi mushroom, as it can regulate cholesterol, blood pressure and suppress oxidative damage. 
An overhead shot of a woman’s hands on a plate of brown rice with bowls of vegetables around it.
Eating brown rice and vegetables can help prevent heart disease.

Limit Your Consumption of Certain Foods Thats May Give You Heart Disease 

What you need to consume less to prevent heart disease: 

  1. Salt 
    A high level of sodium —, the element found in salt —, can raise blood pressure. 
  2. Sugar 
    High blood glucose levels may lead to diabetes, which links to heart problems. 
  3. Fried Foods 
    These contain a great amount of saturated fat, and stimulate an increase of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. 
  4. Processed Foods 
    A study of more than 2000 subjects, found that participants with a high intake of processed foods are more likely to develop heart problems. 
  5. Alcohol 
    Too much alcohol is bad for blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Have Consistent Meal Times 

A study discovered that eating at irregular times may affect waist circumference, body fat, blood pressure and blood sugar. All of these have the potential to cause heart disease. 

Stop Smoking 

In general, tobacco is harmful to health. In relation to heart disease, smoking and secondhand smoking are considered risk factors because they can cause atherosclerosis — a build-up of fats, cholesterol and other substances in and on the artery walls — and high blood pressure.

Exercise Moderately 

WHO suggests 30 minutes of physical activity daily to promote cardiovascular fitness. Moreover, a 60-minute exercise on most days of the week can prevent excessive weight gain, another risk factor for heart disease. 

The back of a woman watching and imitating an exercise video on TV.
A simple exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease

Perform Regular Check-Ups 

Learning the levels of your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol as well as your Body Mass Index allows you to know whether or not you’re at risk of heart disease.

Sleep Early 

A lack of sleep can induce heart problems, among other conditions. At the same time too much sleep may be a symptom of cardiovascular disease. 

Be Happy 

A meta-analysis of 15 studies encompassing 230,000 people it was revealed that happy people have less tendency to suffer from it. It concluded that boosting positive feelings like joy, happiness, excitement, enthusiasm and contentment can help prevent heart problems. Moreover, happy people are more rested or relaxed. It helps them stave off high blood pressure and excess body fat, which relates to heart health. 

As cliché as it sounds, prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to heart disease. Maintaining heart health is not just about watching what you eat, but also when. Furthermore, having good habits such as exercising, avoiding smoking, getting check-ups and sleeping early can go a long way. Most importantly, remember to put on a smile and be happy! 

This is an adaptation of an article, “Managing Heart Diseases”, which first appeared on Eu Yan Sang website. 

References

 

  1. Free Malaysia Today. 2021. Heart disease remains the top killer in Malaysia [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  2. World Health Organization. 2015. Cardiovascular diseases: Avoiding heart attacks and strokes [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  3. Harvard Health Publishing. 2014. Eating fish linked to fewer heart attacks [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  4. Pubmed. 2019. Protective Effect of Ganoderma (Lingzhi) on Cardiovascular System [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2010. Indian Spices for Healthy Heart – An Overview [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Sodium [online][Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  7. National Health Service. 2018. Prevention -Heart attack [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  8. British Heart Foundation. 2021. Ultra-processed food is associated with cardiovascular disease [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  9. American Heart Association. 2020. Inconsistent mealtimes linked to heart risks [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  10. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. How Does Sleep Affect Your Heart Health? [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  11. British Heart Foundation. 2021. Does sleeping too little or too much raise your risk of heart disease? [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  12. Science Daily. 2011. Sleep deprivation: Late nights can lead to higher risk of strokes and heart attacks, study finds [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  13. American Heart Association. How happiness affects heart health. [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 
  14. The Guardian. 2010. Happiness reduces risk of heart disease, research finds [online] [Accessed 27 January 2022] 

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