One in four of all men in the USA will die of heart disease, making it men’s biggest killer. it’s a sobering thought, but the good news is that your heart health is largely in your own hands. And you don’t have to live like a monk to rescue your heart health…
RSNG has reviewed the latest science to discover how you can improve your chances. Doing the following four things will help you to live long and prosper!
1. Drink Tea To Cut Heart Disease Risk By Up To 50% This hack is as simple as putting the kettle on. A 2020 study, (published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology), discovered that drinking tea at least three times a week (green or black) is linked to a longer lifespan and a reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, such as heart attacks and strokes.
Just drinking tea regularly was found to cut your risk of heart disease by 20% – if you’re a lifelong tea drinker then that jumps to a 56% lower risk! The scientists think it’s all down to the polyphenols, which are active compounds found in tea. This theory was backed up when they saw better results for green tea, which has higher levels of polyphenols. So, go green!
A gradual six-month marathon training programme can literally make your heart younger
2. Train For A Marathon To Cut Your Cardiac Age By Four Years OK, this one takes a bit more effort, but there’s nothing like endurance exercise for tuning up your entire cardiovascular system in one hit. And now, scientists at Barts Heart Centre in the UK have discovered that a gradual six-month marathon training programme can literally make your heart younger – by cutting your cardio age by four years.
With each passing year, whatever your age, the blood vessels that supply your heart stiffen, reducing their health. ‘When the main blood vessels in your body get stiffer, it means you get higher blood pressure,’ which also increases your risk of heart disease and strokes, says study author Dr Anish Bhuva.
But his 2020 study found that by following the marathon training programme the volunteers slashed an average of four years off their ‘vascular age’.
If running a marathon seems daunting then you should know that the training programme these runners followed only involved running 6-13 miles a week. That’s really doable. And it seems it’s less about hitting the marathon distance, on one day, than creating a habit of doing regular, moderate intensity exercise. US Federal guidelines call for 150 minutes of this kind of exercise over each week.
So, lace up your runners and step out of the door!
3. Take An Afternoon Nap To Reduce Your Blood Pressure Getting a healthier heart isn’t all about diet and exercise – having a quick snooze can also slash your blood pressure, reducing heart disease risk, says the American College Of Cardiology.
Their 2019 study found that a midday nap can lower your blood pressure by the same amount as cutting out alcohol, reducing salt intake, or even taking blood-pressure medication.
A daytime nap was seen to cut blood pressure by an average of 5mm Hg, whereas low-dosage antihypertensive medication lowers it by an average of 5-7mm Hg. ‘This important because a drop in blood pressure as small as 2 mm Hg can reduce the risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack by up to 10%,’ says cardiologist and co-author Dr Manolis Kallistratos.
Switching out animal proteins for plant ones reduces heart disease and death
4. Eat More Plants To Live Longer Eating more plants may be ‘a thing’ right now but there’s hard scientific data to back up the benefits to your heart health. A decades-long 2019 [study] published in the Journal Of The American Heart Association discovered that replacing some or all animal proteins in your diet with plant-based ones had a massive impact on your cardiovascular health, specifically the amount of fat and cholesterol build up in your arteries. It’s this that can cause fatal heart attacks and strokes.
By comparing the rates of heart disease events and deaths in 15,792 American men and women, since 1987, the study found that sticking to a diet ‘higher in plant foods and lower in animal foods,’ directly led to ‘a lower risk of incident cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease mortality, and all-cause mortality.’
In other words, you don’t even need to go vegan, or full vegetarian, to get a healthier cardiovascular system and live longer – so there’s no excuse for you not to switch some of the animal proteins in your diet out for plant-based ones…
WHAT NEXT? Cutting bodyfat will also relieve the pressure on your cardiovascular system, so read our guide to the weight loss hacks that actually work, now…
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Comments are for information only and should not replace medical care or recommendations. Please check with your Doctor before embarking on exercise or nutrition regimes for the first time.