Your heart is pumping every moment of every day, delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. As we age, cardiovascular health is a concern for all of us.
It is important to develop healthful habits in kids so when they are ready to leave home, they can make healthy choices on their own. If you’re a smoker, stop. If you don’t exercise, today is the day to start. If you’re under stress, be kind to yourself and allow yourself the tools to cope.
According to Statistics Canada, heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death, killing someone every seven minutes in Canada. Simple guidance, such as eating well and being physically active, is sound advice that can help your family improve their heart health. Here are some guidelines to aid your family’s heart health.
Move Your Body
Start by substituting physical activity for screen time. Exercise promotes weight loss, healthy cholesterol, blood pressure levels and stress reduction, all which have direct, positive effects on your cardiac health. Stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, tai chi, yoga and deep breathing, along with adequate sleep will further benefit you and your heart. Making fitness a family event can also be a fun bonding activity.
Balance Your Diet
Healthy eating is all about balance. Making smart decisions to encourage healthy eating habits as a family is important. Here are some ideas to help with making these choices:
- Meal planning. Start your week by organizing daily meals ahead of time. Putting time and thought into this can ensure your family will meet all its nutrition requirements.
- Consume a diet filled with whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fibre, proteins and healthy fats. Limit your intake of processed and refined foods as well as bad fats.
- Get your children to help with cooking. Meal prep is a great opportunity to teach your kids their way around the kitchen and an opportunity for added family time.
- Always have healthy options such as veggies and fruit on hand for quick snacks, especially if you are an active family on the go.
- Introduce your children to reading food labels. If you are unsure of how to read it yourself, this is a great time to learn as a family.
- Lead by example. Choose healthy options at home and when eating out. Remember to feed your kids the same healthy foods you are eating!
Nutrients & Supplements For Heart Health
- Omega-3: Omega-3 reduces inflammation, cholesterol levels, risk for heart rhythm disturbances and heart palpitations, atrial fibrillation and ventricular arrhythmia.
- Coenzyme Q10: An important antioxidant that improves energy for the heart and may help to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. This important nutrient can be depleted if you take statin drug therapy for high cholesterol.
Consult your physician before changing your diet, exercise, or supplement regimen if you have any history of heart disease.