Tips to Help Keep Your Ticker Ticking Laugh! Laugh a lot! It’s a great stress reliever. It doesn’t have to be because of a joke, a funny film or a TV show. It can be as simple as laughing at a difficult or silly situation, rather than getting annoyed. Calm down. Try to curb negative emotions.
Eat fresh, wholesome foods, and cut down—or cut out—on your visits to fast-food outlets. Just think how tasty fresh fruits and vegetables are! But don’t stop there. Eat grains, fish, lean meats, yogurt. Try a soy drink. There are many brands and flavours. Choose a heart-healthy cereal, whole grain bread, pasta, rice. Eat foods rich in beta-carotenes such as sweet potatoes, carrots, winter squash, dark, leafy greens. Toss some ground flax seed or wheat germ on your cereal or salad.
Cut down on salt. For flavouring, use fresh herbs, garlic, onions, vinegar, horseradish or curry spices. Check the salt or sodium content on what you buy. If you must buy canned or packaged soups, for example, choose ones with lower sodium content. Avoid salty snacks, baked beans, canned vegetables and sauces.
Unless there’s a medical reason forbidding your drinking alcohol, you can have one or two drinks a day—but no more. Too much alcohol can damage your heart muscle, increase blood pressure, and lead to weight gain. And binge drinking increases risk of a heart attack.
Watch that cholesterol intake. Remove fat from meats and skin from poultry. Choose low fat or fat-free dairy products. Avoid cakes and pastries that are high in saturated fats and sugars. Eat garlic—it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and, according to some studies, reduces platelet clumping and clotting. Use olive oil or canola oil for cooking or salad dressings. Consider taking a fish oil capsule.
Get more active physically. If you don’t play sports, at least go for a walk. Do leg and arm lifts. Regular exercise is key. (See our separate tips on suggested exercises.)
Above all, don’t smoke. The minute you stop smoking, your risk of a heart attack begins to reduce!