YOUR heart is your engine!
But it needs care.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, 225 people die of heart disease daily and 10 people suffer a stroke every hour.
Professor Pamela Naidoo, the CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation, said 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented.
“You should adopt a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating better, physical activity, no smoking, less alcohol and managing your daily stress.”
She said a key risk factor for heart disease is being overweight or obese, so you must be aware of what you eat.
“Eat more fruit and vegetables. Eat fewer portions of processed food or fast food.
“This will help shape your diet discipline, as well as your heart and waistline.”
What to eat and why
Fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. They are low in fatty kilojoules and rich in dietary fibre.
Like other plants, these foods contain nutrients that help prevent cardiovascular disease.
“Keep your fruit and vegetables washed and neatly cut in the fridge for quick snacks.
“When buying groceries, choose recipes that have vegetables or fruit as the main ingredient, such as vegetable or vegetarian stir-fries or salads with fresh fruit.”
Pamela said replacing unhealthy saturated fats with healthier fats helps to lower one’s risk of heart disease.
Healthier fats fall into two groups. The first are monounsaturated fats, which include avocados, peanuts, cooking oils made from plants or seeds like canola, olive, peanuts and sesame oil.
The second are polyunsaturated fats such as omega-3, oily fish such as salmon and pilchards, soybeans, flaxseed and soybean, sunflower oil, as well as margarine and spreads made from these oils.
While people need to eat protein, they also need to make sure they go for low-fat protein sources such as lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs.
Other options include fat-free milk rather than full cream milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken with skin.
“More than 70% of sodium we eat comes from packaged and restaurant foods.
“When preparing food, replace salt with onions, garlic, herbs and spices to add flavour. When eating out, ask for no extra salt to be added.”