Eat dark chocolate for a healthy heart

WORLD HEART DAY SPECIAL

Heart disease can affect anyone, but certain factors can put people at a greater risk. Men, those with a family history of heart disease, and people older than 60 are more likely to suffer a heart attack than the rest.

A healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean treadmill sessions and salads every day. By following certain steps and doing certain activities that are fun and pleasurable one could be healthy and happy.

Here are 10 ways to prevent a heart attack.

*Say no to tobacco: Style matters, but it does not matter more than your life. If you’re already a smoker, quit now. It’s tough, but it’s even tougher to recover from a heart attack. Ensure a smoke-free environment at home and at work.

*Limit alcohol intake: Although getting high is seen as ‘hip’ these days, try and restrict the amount of alcoholic drinks that you consume. Excessive alcohol intake can cause blood pressure to rise and weight to increase.

*Lower cholesterol levels: Arteries clogged with fat are a recipe for a heart attack. A healthy diet and regular exercise are great ways to begin reducing cholesterol levels.

*Get active and take heart: Even 30 minutes of activity can help prevent a heart attack. If the gym, with all its fancy equipment, intimidates you, then go for a brisk 30-minute walk every morning.

*Maintain body weight: Weight loss, especially with low salt intake, leads to low blood pressure. High blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke, and a major risk factor for approximately half of every kind of heart disease.

*Know your numbers: Visit a healthcare professional who can measure your blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels. Once you know your overall risk, you can develop a specific plan of action to improve the health of your heart.

* Reduce stress: Research has shown a direct correlation between heart disease and stress. In addition, stress often leads people to smoke or overeat. 

*Read, read, read: The best way to prevent a heart attack is to read and learn about protecting yourself and your loved ones.

*Eat dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is a wonderful food that contains large amount of antioxidants that protect your body from ageing. Find good quality dark chocolate and have a bit of it every day. Eating chocolate may lower your blood pressure and cholesterol while providing an energy boost.

*Smile: Smiling is a great way to change your attitude. It costs you nothing to smile. Like relaxation techniques, smiling reduces the effects of stress. By forcing ourselves to smile, we “trick” our body into believing that everything is fine, thereby reducing stress. Smiling can actually change your mood. So put on a smile, even if you don’t feel like it and pretty soon you’ll be smiling for real. This is the simplest way to keep yourself happy and healthy. 

Risk factors 

Heart blockage, due to deposition of cholesterol in the arteries and formation of clots in the arterial lumen, can be precipitated by several factors such as:

*Smoking

*Hypertension

*Diabetes Mellitus

*High blood lipid (LDL , triglycerides) and low HDL ( good cholesterol ) levels

*Psychosocial stress

*Physical inactivity

*Positive family history

*Poor consumption of fruits and
vegetables

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