HEART HEALTH IS NOT A JOKE: MAKE HEART-HEALTHY CHOICES WITH FLORA
This World Heart Day, take the time to understand the importance of healthy heart and how to take care of it. Being aware of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and measures to prevent them is of utmost importance to all of us, no matter what age. CVDs are the biggest cause of death worldwide; the number one killer that takes the lives of 17.9 million people every year according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). Today, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed those with heart complications to much higher risks and the time has come to take extra care of our heart in these uncertain times. 1
Celebrating the World Heart Day 2021 on the 29th of September, Flora has decided to highlight the importance of thinking of heart health at a young age and what it means to take care of our heart. The World Heart Day is a global event designed by the World Heart Foundation to educate and spread awareness about CVDs, their prevention, and their impact.
CVDs refers to the diseases of the heart or blood vessels all of which leads to serious heart attacks and strokes. 2 While CVDs have long been associated as a health risk to just older adults, it is now a common occurrence among young adults as well. According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, USA, the total of young deaths of those between ages 15-49 caused by CVD in Sri Lanka was a staggering 2,688 in 2019.3
A healthy heart is easy to maintain than to cure and Flora hopes to encourage people to take control of their heart health and those of their loved ones with these simple changes to our diet and lifestyle that can go a long way to keep our heart healthy and happy.
Follow a Healthy, Hearty Diet
We are what we eat, and diet plays a critical role in heart health and can impact the risk of aggravating heart disease. With people homebound for long periods of time due to the pandemic, one of the increasing concerns for CVDs are the changes in diet as people indulge in excess consumption of unhealthy food high in saturated fats. When it comes to heart health, it’s important to be conscious of one’s nutrition intake. Health experts recommend a balanced and healthy diet enriched in Omega 3 and 6 as a heart healthy choice.4
Omegas i.e., Omegas 3 and 6 are essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that are good for the heart and hence are also called ‘good’ fats. Omegas 3 & 6 are found in fatty fish such as tuna, mackerel and salmon, seed oils such as sunflower, canola and avocado and fat spreads made with sunflower and canola oil, have a range of health benefits when consumed in the recommended amounts, especially as a replacement for saturated fats or trans fats (the ‘bad’ fats) in our diet.
Omega 3 and 6 when consumed in the recommended amounts help maintain the blood cholesterol level there by supporting heart health. Saturated fats and trans fats, such as those found in butter, are known to increase levels of cholesterol in the blood. Hence health authorities all over the world, including the World Health Organization recommend replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats .5
Flora is a blend of sunflower and canola oil. These soft oils are abundant of omega 3 and 6 which makes Flora a great source of these essential fatty acids. A serving of 20g of Flora into our diet will also include 33% of the daily requirement of Vitamins A, D and E with no unhealthy trans-fats.
Maintain a Heart Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy and active lifestyle equals a happy heart and leading an unhealthy lifestyle, stress and lack of physical exercise can be harmful to the heart.
Having a healthy life means maintaining our physical wellbeing by regularly monitoring blood pressure, getting proper sleep, reducing the intake of saturated fat and sodium, and engaging in regular exercises at least five times a week. In this new normal, there are several online fitness classes and tutorials that cater to stay-at-home exercising.6 To maintain a good physical condition, do 150 minutes of moderate - intensity workouts or 75 minutes of vigorous - intensity workouts or even a combination of both each week. Refer to Flora Sri Lank Instagram and Facebook pages to refer to Flora workout series.7 Those already suffering from heart disease is encouraged to do less intensive workouts and walk greater distances.
A good state of mind is also important for managing stress. Experts encourage taking short, active breaks throughout the day, meditating, and shutting down the brain to destress.8 This includes limiting the time spent on social networks, filtering the information we receive about the pandemic by only trusting reliable sources and avoiding coping strategies that involve alcohol or drugs. It can also include practicing daily mindfulness by adopting breathing techniques to feel calm and unwind from our thoughts.
Investing in a heart-healthy lifestyle starts with simple changes that have long term impacts. This World Heart Day, Flora encourages people to not just follow their hearts, but to take care of it too! Start young and make a conscious effort to live a heart-healthy life.
*Individuals with heart disease or related problems should seek medical advice.
3. Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, USA, 2019: http://www.healthdata.org/sri-lanka
4. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/
7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA,2020:https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm