There is no secret formula to live better and longer, but there are certain things we can do to avoid two of the leading causes of premature death: cardiovascular disease and cancer. The American Heart Association (AHA) has just launched a campaign called healthy life Simple 7, which will try to raise awareness among the American population of the importance of following seven simple habits that can make the risk of cancer or suffer a cardiovascular disease decrease by half.
The campaign, which the association premiered yesterday with great fanfare, does not end in a nice web page: it is based on one of the most important studies that have been carried out on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the incidence of lifestyle in these and its relation to cancer. Dr. Laura Rasmussen-Torvik , author of this study, which had previously been published in the scientific journal of the association, Circulation , has explained in the presentation of the campaign that, for the first time, we know with certainty that these seven simple habits not only help prevent cardiovascular diseases but also have tremendous importance in the prevention of all types of cancers. The doctor says that the seven councils “can help health professionals to provide a clear and consistent message about the specific things that people can do to take care of their health and decrease the overall risk of chronic diseases.”
Actions such as quitting smoking or changing diet have almost immediate effects on our health If six or seven of the habits, many of them intimately related, are met, the risk of suffering from cancer or cardiovascular disease is reduced by 51% in comparison with those people who do not meet any of the habits. Even if all the rules are not complied with, only betting on some of them has obvious effects: fulfilling four of the rules leads to a risk reduction of 33%, and two to 21%.
For Rasmussen-Torvik it is never too late to change our habits of life, and follow the seven proposed tips, because there is a large body of scientific studies that show that actions such as quitting or changing diet have almost immediate effects on our health.
THE SEVEN ‘SIMPLE’ TIPS FOR A HEALTHY LIFE
Everyone knows that exercise is good for your health, but there are too many people who do not practice it. According to a survey by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) conducted last year, 24% of Spaniards do not do any kind of physical activity: they do not even walk one hour a week. Read more: ports and its unique role in our life
According to the AHA report, only 30 minutes of moderate exercise (just a simple walk), for five days a week, significantly reduces the risk of suffering from diabetes, having a heart attack or suffering a stroke. Children need more exercise, at least one hour every day. According to the American Association, exercising not only affects a physical level, it also reduces stress, gives us more energy and even changes our mood. Read more: Health benefits of exercise
Control your cholesterol
Controlling cholesterol level is the only way to ensure that our arteries are not going to block, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. According to the AHA, we should start to worry if our cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl. There are people who must be especially careful because they have a hereditary gene that makes them produce too much bad cholesterol (LDL). For them to reduce the level of it is a matter of life or death.
75% of the cholesterol in our blood comes from our liver and our own cells, and the remaining 25% of our food. Maintaining an ad hoc diet – avoiding saturated and trans fats and boosting low cholesterol foods – is important, but it is not enough to reduce cholesterol, it is also necessary to exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
The Global Burden of Disease Study, the largest study on diseases, accidents and life expectancy conducted to date, showed that diet is the risk factor that causes more deaths and disabilities in the developed world. The AHA insists on the importance of reducing in our diet the unhealthy fats, the foods with a lot of cholesterol, the sodium and the added sugars; and prioritize foods rich in fiber and lean protein, as well as fruits and vegetables.
To achieve a healthy life diet, the AHA recommends following the following guidelines:
- Keep a diary in which you write down what you eat every day.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits.
- Eat whole foods
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Limit the consumption of trans and saturated fats, and foods rich in cholesterol and sugar.
Control your blood pressure
Having high blood pressure is the most important risk factor for heart disease. Hypertension causes our blood to flow through the arteries with too much force, which affects all of our vital organs. When blood pressure stays at normal levels, the effort of the heart, arteries, kidneys is reduced and, in general, it is more difficult to have cardiovascular problems.
Too high a pressure can kill us without us noticing. It is a “silent killer” that can catch us off guard if we neglect our tension and that sooner or later affects almost everyone if the right measures are not taken.
To maintain tension at an adequate level – without resorting to medications, which in some people are in any case necessary – you have to follow a series of tips: keep a diet low in salt, perform the frequent exercise, avoid overweight, control stress, limit the consumption of alcohol and quit smoking.
All the risk factors are intimately related, and if we are obese or overweight, almost in all probability, we will have other risk factors. Being fatter than we should make us have a higher risk of suffering from hypertension, cholesterol problems, and diabetes. Obesity, however, is also an independent risk factor, which makes us more likely to have a cardiovascular problem, despite the fact that the rest of the indicators are correct (something, anyway, unlikely).
According to the AHA, if our Body Mass Index is greater than 25, we should start to worry, but if it is greater than 30 we are exposed to a significant risk of suffering cardiovascular problems and we should lose weight as soon as possible.
Reduce blood sugar level
Although diabetes is a treatable disease, and with which you can live, only the fact of suffering increases the possibilities of suffering a heart attack or a stroke, the most common cause of death for those who suffer from it. The best way to avoid being diabetic is to prevent the onset of it by controlling our blood sugar level, without waiting to get old.
Having a healthy blood sugar level (below 100 mg/dl of fasting glucose) protects our vital organs and makes us live longer and better. To control the blood glucose level, follow these tips:
- Reduce the consumption of simple sugars, present, above all, in soft drinks and sweets.
- Do regular exercise, which directly affects our body’s response to insulin.
- Take the appropriate medication if we enter the risk zone.
The AHA is clear about it: if you smoke it matters little if you strictly follow the other six steps, quitting cigarettes should be a priority. The snuff is directly related to a large number of premature deaths and in our country is the third risk factor in the order of importance. The lungs will notice that you have quite the tobacco after the first week, and they will begin to heal as soon as you quit.
Smoking damages the circulatory system increases the risk of aneurysms and coronary diseases and promotes the appearance of clots in the blood. Its effects are cumulative and, without counting cancer, can lead us to suffer a heart attack or stroke.
Tags: healthy life, healthy lifestyle, seven simple tips healthy life
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