Modifications to prevent heart disease and stroke do not need to be complicated. You do not necessarily have to undergo a complete diet makeover. Implementing a few simple changes into life can have tremendous long term effects.
In Canada ~30% of all deaths come from heart disease. Every 7 minutes someone dies from heart disease. The cost of the disease on our health care system...$20.9 billion.
Now strokes. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Canada with over 14,000 people losing their lives. Although not as high as heart disease, strokes are a $3.6 billion burden on our health care system.
I could go on and on but I think you get the point!
If these deaths were completely non-preventable then there is not much we can do. You would need to accept it for what it is and move on with your life hoping that you will not fall into those categories.
But fortunately that is not the case. Heart disease and stroke can be drastically reduced by making simple lifestyle changes. These simple changes will compound over time and your odds of "contracting" one of these disease can go way way down.
One thing that is difficult for the human mind to comprehend is the idea of doing something today to prevent, plan, or deter something in the future. Therefore instead of approaching this as long term plan, even though it is, think of it as doing something that is going to increase your energy, health, performance, and life right now.
Here are 5 things that you can start today in order to reduce your chances of developing one of these diseases. These are going to sound super obvious but that is because they are the simplest and most effective things you can do immediately.
1. Quit Smoking.
I also cannot relate with the addiction that comes with smoking so I do not want to come across as one of those people that just says quit already. All I am saying is make the honest effort to quit but make sure that it happens. Find a way that works for you and give it 110%.
2. Stress Less.
Stress can effect every single function in our bodies one way or another. Unfortunately our living environments, lifestyle choices, jobs, etc. all not helping the situation. This means that you need to go out of your way to minimize the stress that you have in your life.
The difficulty with it is knowing where to start and truthfully everyone has completely different lives so just saying worry less or meditate more (although those are great suggestions) does not work for everyone.
Instead be conscious of stress. Understand when, where, and why you are stressed. Once you have that in your radar you can begin to find strategies to reduce and eliminate it from your life.
3. Lose Weight.
I completely understand that some people have a difficult time with weight loss. I see it a lot with clients.
The solution...if you struggle with weight loss, nutrition concepts, yo-yo diets, etc. then simply seek out some help. You do not need to do anything drastic just find a family member, friend, or coach that can lead you down the right path. If that is not working then you may need to find someone else.
Having an awesome supporting social circle is one of the best things that you can do to lose weight successfully and increase your overall health. Especially if it is something you struggle with.
4. Drink Less.
Drinking causes huge amounts of inflammation in your body and inflammation is one of the main contributors to developing a degenerative disease.
Alcohol can be a slippery slope. After all, we are told that a few drinks per week is good so you need to be conscious of where to draw the line. Personally I think that line is a little fuzzy and there in lies the problem.
That being said the typical one drink per day for females and two drinks per day for males is the easiest and most effective rule to follow.
The other side to drinking is the social aspect. Most of us have had those nights or weekends where we end up drinking more than we "should". Hey that happens once in a while. I know that I do it and that is not going to change. But here is my approach to situations like this now...
Don't do it every weekend and never get to the point where you are vomiting on your shoes!
Go out and have fun! Just make sure that it doesn't become a weekly event and that when you do you are still in control and know your limits.
5. Start Exercising.
There have been a lot of studies coming out that show how simply moving 20 minutes per day can drastically improve your health and longevity.
You do not HAVE to go run a marathon (actually I would advise against it) or HAVE to lift heavy weights. Just move.
Find what exercise you enjoy the most and stick to it. If you truly enjoy the type of exercise you are doing then sticking to it will become much much easier.
And similar to nutrition if you really struggle with motivation, what to do, keeping focused, then seek out some assistance. Again this could be a friend, and workout buddy, or a personal trainer? Find what is the best fit for you and success will soon follow.
1. Take a high quality fish oil.
2. Eat some dark chocolate.
3. Increase your plant consumption.
4. Reduce industrial seed oils in your diet (canola oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, soybean oil, etc.)
- Instead use coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocado oil, ghee.
5. Consume less sugar.
Live Your Best Life!