It is never too late to start taking care of your heart health, as preventing heart and cardiovascular diseases is a wise move that will pay off the rest of your life. It should also be noted that, as globalisation and technology alter people’s socioeconomic and working structures, people’s lives are increasingly surrounded by work and responsibilities. 

People’s cardiovascular health is deteriorating as a result of a lack of exercise, a poor diet and other unhealthy habits. In Malaysia, heart disease is still the leading cause of death. According to Mohd Yusrizal bin Ab. Razak in the <Statistics on Causes of Death, Malaysia, 2020>, the reported heart disease has occupied 15% of total medically-certified deaths in 2019, resulting in 16,375 deaths due to heart disease alone. 

However, heart disease is preventable through healthy life choices. It’s important to remember that the choices you make in everyday life have direct or indirect consequences on your overall well-being, especially your cardiovascular health. 

There are several simple yet effective ways to maintain or improve your cardiovascular health. Anyone of any age can benefit from taking these simple steps to keep their heart healthy throughout their lives. 

Get More Exercise 

Being physically active is a crucial step toward maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Studies show that people who are not very active are more likely to have a heart attack than people who are. To maintain good cardiovascular health, it is recommended that everyone have at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. 

Exercising is important not only for improving blood flow, but also for controlling body weight. Having excess weight will pose a number of health risks, such as exerting excessive pressure on the arterial walls, causing the heart to work harder. Also, being overweight will increase one’s risk of developing other diseases such as hypertension, heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiovascular diseases. 

Begin taking care of your cardiovascular health today by hitting the gym, sweating it out and making sure to get in enough active minutes every week.

Reduce Alcohol Consumption

Excessive drinking can have serious long-term health consequences, affecting cardiovascular health by causing high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and also cardiomyopathy, a symptom that damages the heart muscles. Heavy drinking will also lead to obesity and disrupts the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. 

In turn, excessive inflammation can worsen alcohol-related organ damage. The good news is that one can simply avoid all of this by sticking to the guidelines for moderate alcohol drinking. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines moderate drinking as up to 4 alcoholic drinks for men and 3 for women in any single day, with a weekly limit of 14 drinks for men and 7 drinks for women. 

Avoid Smoking and Secondhand Smoke

Cigarette smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease; this is also true for light smokers who smoke fewer than 5 cigarettes per day. The risk of cardiovascular disease increases in direct proportion to the number of cigarettes smoked. 

Study shows that cigarettes with a particular blend of tobacco with low nicotine contents still puts smokers at the same risk of developing cardiovascular disease as smoking regular cigarettes. 

Non-smokers should be worried about this too if they are exposed to too much secondhand smoke, as they are just as likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. 

Practice Stress Management

Practicing effective stress management can help you avoid various complications with your cardiovascular health. Stress can be categorised into two types: physical stress caused by having insufficient sleep or illness, and emotional stress caused by work or everyday obligations and pressures. 

Long-term stress can cause the body to secrete hormone cortisol, a chemical that aids in stress relief. However, high levels of the hormone cortisol can introduce common risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as increased blood cholesterol, blood sugar, blood level, as well as triglyceride levels. 

Always be mindful of your stress levels and engage in stress-reducing activities such as swimming, yoga, or any other sports. 

Eat Healthily 

Our diet has a significant impact on our cardiovascular health. Starting with portion size, overloading the plate will easily cause one to over-consume the calories needed for the day; excessive calories that are not used up will lead to weight gain, which is a major risk of heart health. 

High consumption of saturated fat, which is commonly found in butter and baking goods, increases the risk of cholesterol elevation. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart attack or stroke. 

On the other hand, fruits and vegetables that are packed with vitamins, minerals, and fibers can contribute to help lower blood cholesterol levels as well as rejuvenating the body with minerals like Zinc and Selenium. Consuming more fish and vegetables like spinach, walnuts, and flaxseed with healthy fats like Omega 3 can also improve your heart health. 

Regular Health Screening

To prevent cardiovascular disease, also known as coronary artery disease (CAD), you need to manage your risk factors such as high blood pressure, high total cholesterol and high blood glucose.

But how do you know which risk factors you have? The best way to find out is through screening tests and regular doctor visits.

The cardiovascular system serves as a critical function for the body’s overall functionality, so taking care of your cardiovascular health has become one of the important key factors to your overall health. 

Take care of your heart well!

In recent years, people are becoming more and more proactive in taking care of their health. Detoxification practices are some of the more popular ways to rejuvenate a tired body. There are various detox practices that can be found on the internet including consuming specific commercial products, detox diets, or even fast for a specific amount of time to achieve the so-called ‘toxin removal’ goal, thereby enhancing health and encouraging weight loss.

The term ‘toxin’ in the context of detox refers to the pollutants, contaminants, heavy metals, and synthetic chemicals in our bodies that could affect our health negatively. However, there is little to no evidence of study to signify detox diets can remove toxins from the body. These random and unproven detox practices sometimes could be very misleading, and do more harm than good to the body. 

Providentially, our bodies are well-equipped with complex systems that can eliminate toxins through organs like the liver, kidneys, digestive system, skin, and lungs. In other words, as long as these crucial organs are in a healthy state, the body does not have to rely on special diets or excessive health products to carry out the detoxifying process. 

So here are several safe, practical, and fundamental practices everyone can practice to promote the body’s natural detoxification. 

Control Alcohol Consumption 

Our liver will metabolise 90% of our alcohol consumption every time we drink. According to a research by Duke University, the only way our liver can ‘digest’ alcohol is to metabolise them into acetaldehyde which will be removed by the body later. 

The whole process is simply too stressful for the liver, that is why excessive drinking can severely damage liver function by causing inflammation. Limiting or restraining entirely from alcoholic drinks is the best way to keep the body’s detoxification function strong.

Have Sufficient Sleep

A night of adequate sleep ensures the body promotes its natural detoxifying nature. With sufficient rest, the brain will remove toxic waste by-products such as beta-amyloid. Having insufficient sleep will cause build-up of the toxins which can affect several aspects of health.

It is recommended to have 7 to 9 hours of sleep regularly for the body to stay healthy.

Drink More Water

Drinking water is more than just quenching our thirst, as it regulates the body temperature, lubricates joints, promotes digestion, eases nutrient absorption, boosts energy levels, and detoxifies the body. Besides, drinking water can also help remove carbon dioxide through urination.

Hence, staying hydrated is essential to maintain the body’s detoxification process. It is recommended for an average person to drink about 3.2 liters of water a day.

Cut Sugar & Reduce Consumption On Processed Foods

Processed foods and other foods that are in high sugar contents are thought to be at the root of many health issues. High consumption of sugary and highly processed foods has been linked to obesity and other chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Health issues as such will obstruct important organs that carry the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself. Hence, cutting down on high sugar foods can keep the body’s detoxification system healthy.

Workout Consistently

Regardless of losing weight, exercising consistently is also associated with promoting better cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of health conditions like type-2 diabetes, inflammation, and heart diseases. The key essence here is the condition of inflammation as it helps us recover from the infection and wound healing.

However, too much inflammation will weaken our immune system and our body’s detoxification capabilities. Study shows that exercising as little as 20 minutes can show signs of the body promoting anti-inflammatory effects. By reducing inflammation, the body can function properly with a better immune and detoxification system to free the body from harmful contaminants. 

The Takeaway

Trendy detoxification practices and diets are said to be able to remove toxins within the body while promoting weight loss. However, there are minimal clinical studies and 

proven test results to back it up to be reliable and safe. 

Also, these ‘unknown’ practices are not necessary as our body is highly efficient in detoxifying toxins on its own.