NUTRITION AND YOU

Heart health – know the good and bad

Being diagnosed with any long-term illness can be stressful and overwhelming. If you have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, it is only natural that you may feel worried. But know that when diabetes is well managed, you can continue to lead a normal, healthy life.1 And the good news is, there is so much you can do to help take charge of your diabetes. In this article, we summarise the next steps after a diagnosis of diabetes.

The best way to look after your health is with a healthy diet, exercise and healthy lifestyle choices. Here we summarise the top ways to keep your ticker in tip top shape. 

Look after your mental and emotional health

Did you know that people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have good social support, can be at higher risk of heart disease?1 If you feel depressed for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor, a family member or someone you know well. You can also find more information about depression, and helpful resources, from organisations such as Beyond Blue and MindSpot.

Exercise regularly

Regular, moderate physical activity is great for your heart health and your overall wellbeing.1 Regular exercise is important for people of all ages, at all stages of life. And best of all, it’s never too late to start and get the benefits. So, get moving! Read more about the importance of keeping fit and tips to easily make exercise a part of your daily routine.

Keep your weight in check

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of many lifestyle-related health problems, including heart disease.1 It can help to know your body mass index (BMI) and waist measurements and what these mean for your heart health. You can learn more about BMI and waist measurements at the Heart Foundation.

Do not smoke

Smoking damages the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart and other parts of your body. It also increases your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.1  Not smoking is one of the best things you can do to protect your heart. If you want to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about what may help, or call Quitline on 13 78 48. You can read more about the negative health effects of smoking at the Heart Foundation.

Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol

Our blood pressure naturally goes up and down depending on what we are doing. But when blood pressure is higher than normal over a long period of time – referred to as high blood pressure, or hypertension – it can increase our risk of heart disease.1

Similarly, having high cholesterol can also increase our risk of heart disease.1 Cholesterol is a fatty substance carried in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to be healthy, but an imbalance of cholesterol in your blood can lead to a heart attack or stroke.2 To keep ‘bad’ cholesterol levels low in the blood, it is recommended we limit our consumption of saturated fats to 10% of our total energy intake and limit trans fats as much as possible.3

If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, it is important to speak to your doctor about how to treat and manage these.

Eat a balanced and nutritious diet

Eating a diet that consists of a wide variety of healthy foods can help with your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.

There are also specific changes you can make to your diet to help prevent heart disease; 2

  • Eat less salt: Reducing your salt intake is good for your blood pressure
  • Replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats: Replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can reduce your ‘bad’ cholesterol and risk of heart disease
  • Limit alcohol

Ensure uses a heart-friendly fat blend

Ensure is specially formulated with a healthy fat blend.

  • Low in saturated fats – uses unsaturated fatty acids as major fat source4
  • Includes plant-based omega-3 fatty acids to support heart health 4

References

 

  1. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Your Heart. Available at: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/images/uploads/publications/CON-071.v4-YourHeart-LR-secure.pdf. Accessed on 12 October 2018.
  2. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Keep Your Heart Healthy. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/your-heart/keep-your-heart-healthy
  3. National Heart Foundation of Australia. Saturated And Trans Fats. Available at: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/fats-and-cholesterol/saturated-and-trans-fat. Accessed on 2 October 2018.
  4. Abbott Australasia. Ensure Product Information. Data on file.