According to new market research, a majority (72%) of Australian parents of young children are at increased risk of high cholesterol due to weight gain or reduced exercise, with 64% of parents not considering their health as often now that they have children. To be a ‘fit’ parent and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, follow these top tips for a healthy heart.
1) Drop the salt: Excess salt in the diet can cause blood pressure to rise. Around 75% of the salt we eat comes from processed foods so check the label and choose the brand with the lowest sodium content. Avoid stock cubes, soy sauce, mustard, pickles, and mayonnaise. Instead, flavour with herbs, spices, chilli, garlic, pepper, vinegar, lemon or lime juice.
2) Get moving: Exercise has so many benefits for your health and well-being including lowering the risk of heart disease. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day, 3–5 times a week. Ideally you should try to do something every day. Whether it’s walking the dog or taking the kids to the park, it’s important to do something you enjoy so you’re able to keep it up.
3) Eat fibre: Soluble fibre can help lower cholesterol reabsorption, and assist with blood glucose level control. Find it in oat bran, barley bran, wheat bran, rolled oats, legumes (e.g. kidney beans, chick peas, lentils), wholemeal breads and cereals, fruit and vegetables. It can be difficult to meet your recommended daily requirements of fibre, so to help, fibre supplements like Metamucil are a great way to meet your daily needs and lower cholesterol.
4) Eat good fats: Avoid having too many foods containing saturated and trans fats such as meat, full cream dairy, baked goods and fried foods and reach for foods with good fats like fish, nuts and avocados.
5) Stop smoking: While most parents reduce (18%) or stop smoking (40%) after having children, around one in ten don’t succeed in quitting because they find it too hard to stop. Regular smoking increases the possibility of a heart attack in people with chronic heart problems. Persistence is the key when it comes to quitting smoking! Most people try two or more times before they get the hang of it.
6) Stress less: A certain amount of stress can be a good thing. It can help you focus and achieve what you want to do. Too much stress on the other hand is not good for your health. Whether it be taking a bubble bath or taking a walk, it’s important to find a way to manage your stress levels.
For more tips to keep a healthy heart, click here