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It’s not exactly an empty warning that if you don’t take care of your heart bad things will follow, but it’s surprising how many people neglect this vital organ. I suppose the reason for this is that the causes of heart problems don’t usually develop into serious damage until many years later and people take an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude. The heart is the engine of your body and the brain is the driver, however we’ll just cover the heart in this one, as the brain is quite good looking after itself as long you keep it safe.
Continuing with the ‘heart = engine’ metaphor; you wouldn’t not take your car to get serviced or get it an MOT once a year and so you should be getting your heart checked annually as well. Only a doctor is going to be able to tell you if your heart is as healthy as it should be. Yes they will tell you the same things each year: exercise more, eat better, blah, blah, blah, but at least they can tell you if something serious is wrong with your engine and they will perform a heart failure test, which come in many different forms, such as x-rays and ECGs.
Eat Better, Drink more Water
Talking of eating better, it is really the best way to look after your heart. Eating fatty, processed foods is like putting diesel into a car that needs unleaded; it’ll just stop working and not drinking enough water is like never topping up your car’s coolant, which will cause it to explode (maybe…)
Salt, Salt, Salt
Salt, as you all know is bad for your body, but particular your heart. Although it does improve the taste of your favourite foods, too much must be avoided. So a couple of things to look out for: don’t add extra salt to meals, ever (no matter how bland they taste) and be on the lookout for hidden salt in foods you buy from the super market. The following are also all salt:
- Sodium Alginate
- Sodium Sulfite
- Sodium Caseinate
- Disodium Phosphate
- Sodium Benzoate
- Sodium Hydroxide
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Sodium Citrate
What would happen if you put a Mini engine into a Hummer? It wouldn’t work would it? The engine would be under too much stress and would explode (maybe…). Your heart is built to maintain a human body at a healthy weight and so when you stuff in the Papa John’s and push your weight and waist outwards, you’re putting extra strain on the heart and it simply isn’t strong enough to maintain that. Sure you’ll be fine for a decade or two, but the damage will soon start to show.
Do I really need to tell you that you shouldn’t smoke? No? Good. Stop smoking, it is doing nothing good, except maybe calming you down, but then drink some chamomile; go for a jog, or do some yoga … anything but smoke!
If you think of it as a series of small changes to your overall lifestyle, it should be a cake walk getting your heart, fit and healthy. Don’t let it consume you and allow yourself lots of treats, but always know what you’re working towards and you’ll be fit as a fiddle in no time.