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The Link Between a Healthy Lifestyle and Heart Disease Prevention

Heart disease and other non-communicable diseases are the leading cause of death in seniors, according to Statistics SA. The majority of seniors in South Africa suffer from some form of cardiovascular disease and heart disease ranks among the top 10 causes of death in those under the age of 65.

Why the Family Tree Doesn’t Provide All the Answers

A recent study revealed that children who had long-living parents had a lower chance of stroke, vascular disease, heart failure, and more. This does not mean that good genes are a free ride to an unhealthy lifestyle. It merely indicates that the genes and possibly good habits of the parents have a positive effect.

The study also indicated that the children of those who were in bad health didn’t necessarily have to follow the same path as their parents. They weren’t genetically doomed and in fact, a healthy lifestyle often overrides genetic predisposition.

These results allow those who had no hope for a long and healthy life due to their parents’ ill health, to enjoy one themselves by adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Changes Seniors Can Make to Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

This list is by no means newsworthy and can easily be regarded as common knowledge, however, an alarming rate of senior South Africans still practice unhealthy habits which negatively impact heart health, such as adding extra salt on their snoek and slaptjips.

Reduce Your Salt Intake

This is one of the trickier areas to commit to, however, a drastic reduction in salt intake is needed to ensure better heart health.

Put Down the Cigarettes

South Africans who smoke are at an increased risk of heart disease and strokes. Consider enrolling in a program to stop the habit as the benefits extend far beyond just the financial implications.

Pick Up the Pace

Moderate exercise a few times a week will make a world of difference. This type of fitness activity has a dramatic effect on the body, as it also lifts the mood and alleviates stress. This doesn’t have to cost as much as a gym membership; simple exercises such as walking and using the stairs are a simple technique to fit into a busy lifestyle. This also happens to be one of the best ways to ward off heart disease.

Eat More and Eat Less

This may sound like an infomercial on repeat, but it really is that important. Incorporate more natural and organic products in the diet and remove all those items that are over-processed and unnatural. A good way to determine whether something is good to eat is to ask three simple questions:

  • Is it found in that state in nature? – A good example of this is fruits and vegetables.
  • Did they have to change it in a factory? – If it cannot be processed at home or a local butcher, grocer, or deli, it might be a good idea to steer clear.
  • Does it expire?  – Here you want the answer to be yes, as preservatives can add ingredients to your body that you don’t need. One of the only things where the answer can safely be ‘no’, is honey as it never expires.
  • Steer clear of junk food, fast foods, and processed foods which will all have a negative impact on your heart health.

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