Our risk of cardiovascular disease unfortunately increases with age. 66% of Australians aged over 75 report having a long-term cardiovascular condition. It may be hard to hear, but cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death for those over the age of 60.
If you’ve recently had your blood pressure or cholesterol checked, and want to improve the results, here’s the good news. There are many ways you can improve your heart health naturally. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple changes to your diet and lifestyle habits can vastly improve your cardiovascular health. So, what can you do?
Cut back on alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure. In addition to this, weight gain from consuming a lot of alcohol can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you regularly have more than the recommended daily alcohol intake, try cutting back to reduce your risk of heart disease.
Avoid sugary drinks
Studies have shown that consuming too many high-sugar drinks can raise your blood pressure. It’s best to avoid soft drinks or juices with lots of added sugar, and stick to water as much as possible.
Easier said than done, but it’s well-known that smoking increases your blood pressure. Quitting smoking may be difficult, but it will bring your blood pressure down, and with it, your risk of heart disease.
Reduce your sodium intake
Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet is an easy way to lower your blood pressure. Processed foods are high in sodium, so avoid these as much as possible. Try to lower the amount of salt you add while cooking. Also, be careful when adding sauces to foods, as these may contain high levels of sodium.
Eat the right fats
Foods such as processed meats, cheese, and dairy are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. To lower your risk of heart disease, avoid a diet high in saturated fats. Try to incorporate more unsaturated or polyunsaturated fats into your meals. You can get these good fats from foods such as fish, avocado, and nuts and seeds.
It’s important to stay active, even as you get older. Low-impact exercise such as walking or swimming are great ways to keep your heart healthy. Even just a brisk ten-minute walk can make a difference! Exercising with others also has the added benefits of combating loneliness and reducing anxiety. As you get older, you may not feel as comfortable going out on your own. However, with the help of social support services, you can enjoy activities with confidence, like going for walks, as well as having the companionship.
With these simple changes, you’ll be on your way to better heart health in no time – naturally!