Matters of the heart for all ages

Published May 5, 2018, 4:05 PM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Cheshire Que


One can be declared brain dead yet still have life. Other vital organs may fail yet one can still live. But when the heart stops beating, one also draws his last breath in this world. That is how vital the heart is. Heart health plays the biggest role in living a quality life.

We know that the heart pumps blood throughout the body. But have you ever asked yourself about the significance of the heart beyond being a pumping machine? The heart pumps precious blood through a complex network of arteries and veins. All these make up the life-giving cardiovascular system. Think of the blood as a vehicle that transports essential nutrients, oxygen, wastes, and other substances throughout the body.

The condition of your heart and the entire cardiovascular system is the cornerstone of the aging process. You are technically as old as your heart and arteries. You may be biologically young but physiologically old if your arteries are clogged with a heart that works double time to sustain life.

“If you want to live life to the fullest, you need to commit to taking your heart into your own hands. It will be the most important decision you will ever make about how you live the rest of your life,” said Dr. Richard Furman a renowned vascular surgen residing in North Carolina, USA and author of Prescription for Life (Three Simple Strategies to Live Younger Longer).

How to take care of your heart in your 20s

When you are in your 20s and fresh off college, you feel invincible. You can eat anything you want yet your metabolism works perfectly fine. You can manage to pull an all-nighter and still have the energy to go to work the next day. Your lifestyle at this age, consequences and all, will be evident in the future. If you abuse your health, you will begin to feel the negative impact sooner.

If you have never smoked in your life, this is not the time to begin or even try. If you have been smoking, it’s best to quit now. Everyone knows that smoking has no health benefit whatsoever. It slowly kills your body and it all begins with your heart and the network of arteries where blood flows.

Building a career is no joke. The stress of trying to prove things to yourself and to others may lead you to adapt an unhealthy lifestyle. A healthy diet could be the last thing on your mind at this point in your life. Fast, convenient, and junk food, high in saturated fats, cholesterol, refined sugars, and even caffeine, is what many individuals in their 20s consume. While it’s impossible to avoid these altogether, focus on incorporating fresh produce into your daily diet. Bring along fresh fruits for snack. Practice quick cooking of vegetables at home or drink fruit and vegetable smoothie before you leave home for work or as soon as you get home in the evening.

How to take care of your heart in your 30s

Juggling between family and professional life in your 30s may put exercise at the bottom of your to-do list. If you are not physically active at this stage, the best time to establish an exercise routine is now. You will begin to feel that your metabolism is starting to go against you. Being physically active throughout the day will boost your metabolism and prevent further weight and body fat gain, which are both detrimental to heart health.

How to take care of your heart in your 40s

We see a number of people getting elevated blood pressure as they reach this decade in their lives. Lessen your salt intake by choosing more whole, fresh, and minimally processed food like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as lean cuts of meats, fish and healthy fats from nuts and seeds. Avoid adding table salt and condiments such as soy sauce and fish sauce during meal times. To help keep your blood pressure at bay, consume potassium-rich food like banana, lemon, orange, and green leafy vegetables.

How to take care of your heart in your 50s

When a woman hits menopause, her risk for heart disease increases as the production of estrogen declines. A diet high in saturated fats, cholesterol, and refined sugars is not at all friendly to your heart and arteries. Avoid or at least limit your alcohol intake, sweets, pastries, and dessert should no longer be a staple in your diet. If you crave for something sweet, fresh or frozen fruits are your best choice. A handful of nuts will give you protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which can help keep your cholesterol levels down.

How to take care of your heart in your 60s and beyond

Once you get to the sixth decade of your life, the rate of muscle loss accelerates. Unfortunately, with muscle loss, the body fat increases. Good quality protein must be consumed in the form of egg, soy, fish, lean meat, and poultry to help build muscles. Aside from diet, it is recommended that you consult your physician about getting into resistance training, which strengthens muscles. The higher the muscle mass, the lesser the body fat and chances of getting heart disease.

At any age, proper nutrition, an active lifestyle, stress management, and monitoring of health status by a professional will ensure optimum heart health.