The heart is our own personal steam engine, constantly pumping the life-sustaining blood that nourishes our brains and bodies. Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we have licence to spend our days lying on the couch, chowing down on poutine. Though it’s often thought of as a man’s problem, heart disease is the number-one killer of women. Let me share some of my best easy-to-follow advice to ensure your ticker keeps ticking without trouble.
Your heart attack prevention plan
1. Spice up your diet
And I mean literally. Add doses of cayenne pepper and ginger to your daily menu. Whether fresh, dried or cooked, these tasty spices have been shown to boost metabolism, which helps you stay lean and reduces inflammation-inducing belly fat. In addition, you’ll find that using them in place of salt can decrease your blood pressure, doubling the heart healthy benefits.
2. Take care of your teeth and gums
There’s considerable research that points to a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. When we don’t floss and skip regular dental visits, plaque causing bacteria can hide in the recesses of the mouth, wreaking havoc on our gums. The inflammation that results can lead to increased inflammation in other parts of the body, including our arteries. To combat this, snack on raisins — they’re rich in phytochemicals, which can suppress bacterial growth in the mouth. Most importantly, make sure you brush regularly and floss every single day!
3. Rethink your calcium supplement and daily vitamins
Here’s my prescription for a healthy heart: Take 1,000 mg of calcium along with 310 mg of magnesium and 1,000 IU of vitamin D. Calcium alone may accelerate plaque growth in your arteries, which increases your risk of heart attack. Magnesium helps prevent this from happening. Vitamin D can reduce the nasty inflammation that scrapes the lining of our vessels, and as an added bonus, you may reduce your risk of cancer and boost your immune function.
Tune in to The Dr. Oz Show on CTV every day at 5 p.m. EST for more great health advice.
The Heart Truth campaign educates Canadian women about the risks and warning signs for heart disease and stroke. This is especially important for Canadian women aged 40 to 60, because the risk of heart disease and stroke increases with age. This year you can watch The Heart Truth 2011 Fashion Show live on March 24 online or on Facebook.