How to keep the human heart healthy and strong?

The risk factors for heart disease are many and it is important to treat them as a whole. But to control your cholesterol, and consequently the condition of your heart, the first step is to know the cholesterol levels in your body.
For the best control of cholesterol requires the combination of a few simple changes. One of the easiest ways to lower cholesterol is to eat foods rich in plant sterols. Which are clinically proven to help lower bad cholesterol levels from 7% to 10% in 2-3 weeks, as part of a balanced diet. and a healthy lifestyle. Thanks to the wide variety of Becel ProActiv products, you can easily follow a more balanced diet with different food combinations. Proper eating habits, a healthy lifestyle, and exercise are key to heart health.

See the most important tips to keep your heart healthy. But do not forget to visit your doctor and dietitian for personalized advice.

Tip 1: Exercise

  • Maintain healthy body weight and stay in shape.
  • Check your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Have more energy, less stress, and relax.
  • How often should I exercise? Experts recommend 30 minutes of gentle physical activity a day, which can consist of three to ten minutes or half an hour of intense exercise. Fast walking is an ideal choice, as it increases the rate of respiration and heart rate.
  • Go for a walk before breakfast.
  • Ride a stationary bike while watching TV.
  • Get actively involved in gardening.
  • Buy a pedometer and try to increase the number of steps daily.
  • Dance while listening to your favorite music.
  • Go for a swim or to the gym on a break from work.
  • Keep track of your physical activity and try to add a little.

Tip 2. Eat at least five servings of Fruits and Vegetables a day

Eating fruits and vegetables provides your body with fiber, vitamins, and minerals that contribute to good heart health.

What should 5 portions of fruits and vegetables consist of?

1 serving = 80g or any of the following: 1 apple, 1 slice of melon, 2 tangerines,
1 teaspoon dried fruit, 1 small glass of fruit juice, 3 tablespoons vegetables, 1 bowl of salad.

Tip 3. Eat bread, legumes, pasta, rice, or potatoes

In addition to vitamins and minerals, these foods provide energy and dietary fiber.
Prefer whole-grain products such as wholemeal pasta, brown rice, and wholemeal or rye bread.

Tip 4. “Good” versus “bad” fats

Maintain good heart health by reducing your intake of bad fats and increasing the good fats in your diet.

Good fats
Polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6) help maintain normal cholesterol levels, which means they help maintain good heart health. Good fats are found in foods such as fatty fish (omega-3s), vegetable oils, and spreads.

  • Healthy eating suggestions:
    Saturated fats increase the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), negatively affecting heart health. They are found in foods such as hard cheeses, cow or sheep butter, ready-made cakes, pastries, and fatty meats, such as sausages and burgers. Bad fats are also found in whole-fat dairy products, as well as in processed foods or ready meals.

Saturated fats increase the levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL), negatively affecting heart health. They are found in foods such as hard cheeses, cow or sheep butter, ready-made cakes, pastries, and fatty meats, such as sausages and burgers. Bad fats are also found in whole-fat dairy products, as well as in processed foods or ready meals.

In grilled meals, replace cow’s or sheep’s butter with a vegetable oil spread, such as Becel ProActiv. It contains much less “bad” saturated fats and has a high content of “good” unsaturated fats. Where possible, opt for light dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt and cheese or skim milk.

Tip 5. Healthier sources of protein

Replace processed or fatty meats with beans, chickpeas, lentils, fish, poultry, and lean meats, and give your body the protein it needs to rebuild cells, avoiding “bad” fats.

Try to eat fish twice a week – once choose a fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, trout, or fresh tuna. Occasionally replace meat with legumes and vegetables in boiled or casserole dishes.

Tip 6. Limit sugar

Avoid foods that contain processed sugar, such as cakes or other ready-made pastries, and make sure you consume soft drinks and sweets only in emergencies.

Tip 7. Reduce salt

According to nutritionists, adults should consume less than 6g of salt per day. Excessive salt intake results in an increase in blood pressure, which affects heart health. Therefore, make sure you eat as few high-salt foods as possible, such as:

Processed foods (eg prepared meals).
Packaged and processed meat products, such as bacon, sausages, and ham.
Savory snacks, such as potato chips and salted nuts.
Look for soups and sauces with low salt content.

Tip 8: Watch your blood pressure

It is a good idea to check your blood pressure often by visiting your doctor or pharmacist. High blood pressure worsens the health of the heart and cardiovascular system and, most of the time shows no symptoms.

Tip 9. Limit alcohol consumption

If you drink alcohol, be sure to reduce the amount you consume to one to two glasses a day.
Remember that if you want to lose weight, alcoholic beverages do not help, as they have a very high caloric value.

Tip 10. Manage stress effectively

Excessive stress is detrimental to heart health. Whether it is intense stress, panic, or pressure from demands at work or home, it is important to develop mechanisms for managing stressful situations. Below, you can find some
useful suggestions:

Identify the causes of stress and try to calm down.
Exercise: cycling, walking, and swimming help reduce tension.
Make time for socializing and going out with friends.
Take time to relax: read a book, take a hot bath or do your favorite activity.
When working out, make sure you have a lunch break at all times. Try yoga or other relaxation techniques.

Tip 11: Control your weight

Obesity has negative effects on heart health and makes it difficult to maintain cholesterol and blood pressure at normal levels. Did you know that accumulated fat puts more strain on the heart than the weight itself?

Apple and pear
“Apple” is characterized by the body type, in which the accumulation of fat around the waist is observed, while “pear” refers to the body type, in which the fat is distributed mainly in the hips. People with a “pear” body type are less at risk of developing cardiovascular disease than people with an “apple” body type.

How to measure your waist circumference:
Find exactly the point in the middle of the distance between the hip and the bottom of your ribs, and measure the waist circumference around this point.

Lose weight slowly and steadily:
It is better to lose weight slowly and steadily. Aim for the loss of 5-10% of your current weight over a period of six months, ie the loss of 0.5-1 kg per week. Do not forget that a healthy diet in combination with physical exercise plays a crucial role in effective weight loss.

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