There are many things you can do to prevent heart and /or cardiovascular disease and stay healthy
Simple things like; maintaining a healthy weight; being physically active; following a healthy eating plan, that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods; choosing and preparing foods with less salt and sodium; and, if you drink alcoholic beverages, drinking in moderation.
In this Prevention is a Choice section, we highlight some of the most significant changes that you can do to improve your quality of life, fitness, and well-being.
Prevention is better than any cure. It’s your choice!
Being overweight is a risk factor for health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, arthritis, gall bladder disease, gynecologic problems, some cancers, and even lung problems.
There is no magic formula for weight loss. You must eat fewer calories than you burn. Just how many calories you burn daily depends on factors such as your body size and how physically active you are.
Cigarette smoking is the single most important preventable cause of illness and early death. It is especially risky for pregnant women and their unborn babies.
People who stop smoking reduce their risk of getting heart disease and cancer. So if you’re a cigarette smoker, think twice about lighting that next cigarette. If you choose to continue smoking, try decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke and switching to a low-tar and nicotine brand.
The majority of the cholesterol in our bodies is actually produced by the body itself. However, our diets account for the rest. Foods high in cholesterol and saturated fatty acids (steak, butter, whole milk, ice cream, hamburgers, egg yolks) are the primary source of our problems in this area. The good news is that you don’t have to cut them out of your diet entirely. Just eat them in moderation.
Follow Sensible Drinking Habits and Reduce Alcohol Consumption
You may be tempted to drink more alcoholic beverages during times of stress. Stress has been blamed for a large percentage of cases of alcohol and drug abuse. If you do drink, remember these facts:
- Alcoholic beverages are high in calories and low in nutrients and may contribute to a weight problem.
- Heavy drinking may lead to nutritional deficiencies if alcohol is substituted for nutritious foods.
- Alcohol also interferes with the body’s use of some nutrients.
- Heavy drinking can lead to serious diseases, such as cirrhosis of the liver and certain types of cancer.
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages by pregnant women may cause birth defects or other problems during pregnancy.
- One or two standard-size drinks daily appear to cause no harm in normal, healthy, non-pregnant adults. So, if you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
A person’s ability to cope with stress is affected by his/her nutritional status. Poor nutrition before and during periods of high stress will make you more likely to develop health problems and will reduce your ability to cope with stress. Prolonged stress affects nutritional status in the following ways:
Stress causes our body to need more of certain nutrients that are directly involved in the stress response. Other nutrients are lost from the body at an increased rate.
Stress often leads to altered eating habits, including an increased intake of snack foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt. Consuming excess amounts of these components may lead to obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
To get all the nutrients you need for body requirements during stress, you should eat a variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, whole-grain and enriched bread, cereals, and other grain products, milk, cheese, yogurt, meats, poultry, fish, eggs, and dry beans and peas. If you eat a variety of foods in sufficient amounts, there will be no need to take vitamin/mineral pills, except in a few cases such as during pregnancy. Be careful not to eat excessive amounts of sweet, salty, or high-fat snack foods.
Almost everyone can benefit from exercise, and there is some form of exercise almost everyone can do. If you have any doubt, check first with your doctor. Usually, as little as 15 to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week will help you have a healthier heart, eliminate excess weight, tone up sagging muscles, and sleep better. Think how much difference all these improvements could make in the way you feel.
Stress is a normal part of living. Everyone faces it to some degree. The causes of stress can be good or bad; desirable or undesirable, such as a promotion on the job or the loss of a spouse.
Properly handled, stress need not be a problem. But unhealthy responses to stress, such as driving too fast or erratically, drinking too much, or prolonged anger or grief, can cause a variety of physical and mental problems.
Even on a very busy day, find a few minutes to slow down and relax. Talking over a problem with someone you trust can often help you find a satisfactory solution. Learn to distinguish between things that are worth fighting about and things that are less important.
Be Safety Conscious
Think “safety first” at home, work, school, play, and on the highway. Buckle seat belts and obey traffic rules. Keep poisons and weapons out of the reach of children, and keep emergency numbers by your telephone. When the unexpected happens, you will be prepared.
Where Do You Go from Here?
- Start by asking yourself a few frank questions:
- Am I really doing all I can to be as healthy as possible?
- What steps can I take to feel better?
- Am I willing to begin now?
Then pick an aspect of your lifestyle where you feel you have the best chance for success and tackle that one first. Once you have improved in this area, go on to other areas.
If you already have tried to change your health habits (to stop smoking or exercise regularly, for example), do not be discouraged if you have not yet succeeded. The difficulty you have encountered may be due to influences you have never really thought about, such as advertising, or to a lack of support and encouragement. Understanding these influences is an important step toward changing the way they affect you.
There is help available. In addition to personal actions you can take on your own, there are community programs and groups that can help you and your family make the changes you want to make. If you want to know more about support groups contact your usual Health Professional, nearest Medical Centre or agencies like the Citizens Advice Bureau. There is a lot you can do to stay healthy or to improve your health. Start today.
Changing Healthstyle action plan
- My new lifestyle habit:
- Short-range goal:
- Date I will start:
- Name of friend or group with whom I will do this activity:
In conclusion; prevention is a choice. Your choice. Whether you decide to continue on as you are, or decide to make some lifestyle changes for better health, the choice is YOUR’s.
There are many things you can do to prevent heart disease and / or just stay healthy:
… the combination of Vedic Meditation, for twenty minutes twice a day, with a good diet – especially a low fat, low salt diet – and physical exercise, should see a dramatic change in your health.
Vedic Meditation is one of the most powerful techniques available for reducing stress and anxiety. It is also one of the easiest to learn and simplest to practice.
If you are in Auckland (NZ) call me, Warwick Jones, on 021 532 768. Or email to find our how Vedic Meditation could help you achieve better health.
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