12 Jan Resolutions for a Heart Healthy New Year 2020
As the New Year has come and gone, and 2020 is underway, we here at CardioVisual have some resolution suggestions for patients that may be struggling with their cardiovascular health. This time of year, many people resolve to improve their exercise regimen but find themselves quickly falling off as life gets in the way. That is why we suggest making smaller resolutions that can still impact health outcomes. Here are a few of our favorites, based on recent studies:
Eat fewer highly processed foods: A new study out in JAMA reveals that eating processed foods can raise a person’s risk of Type II Diabetes. As the New York Times explained, researchers found “that for each absolute increase of 10 percent in the weight of ultraprocessed food in the diet, the risk for diabetes increased by 13 percent.” Ultraprocessed foods not only undergo a change before being sold (as in processed foods), they also incorporate additives such as sugars, preservatives, artificial colors, or flavors. A further incentive for patients to give up ultraprocessed foods: Foods that contain preservatives to increase their shelf life (like emulsifiers and thickening agents) also have no nutritional value.
Sleep better: A new study in the European Heart Journal might encourage heart patients to make efforts to improve their sleep hygiene, as poor sleep may be tied to stroke and heart disease. For their research, the study authors assigned sleep scores to 385,292 British men and women on a scale of zero to five. Researchers gave each participant one point for each of five indicators: being an early bird, an absence of insomnia, sleeping between seven and eight hours a night, not snoring, and not being sleepy during waking hours. Over eight years of the study, those with better sleep hygiene reduced their risk for coronary heart disease and stroke by 34 percent when compared with the others.
Eat more heart healthy foods: Sometimes when a patient has trouble integrating full lifestyle changes, it may help to simply encourage them to eat more tasty nutritious foods that will provide them some benefits. Encourage them to eat more seeds and nuts and resolve to eat less red meat. (Which offers the added benefit of being better for the environment. Meat consumption accounts for 36 percent of food-related greenhouse gas emissions.) Nothing new, but a good reminder that going beyond eating bad foods and eating ones that have positive heart benefits can help reduce their risk for heart disease and its related conditions.