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After 40, the risk of coronary heart disease increases. If you eat an unhe althy diet, smoke cigarettes, and sleep little, your heart may eventually fail to obey you. See what your heart needs to stay in good shape for years to come.

The data show that nowadays women suffer from heart disease as often as men, but later (by about 10 years) and a bit differently. However, it is heart and circulatory system diseases that are more likely to cause death in women (54%) than in men (39%). In terms of mortality in women, they are in the first place. And they kill twice as many women as cancer! These are probably enough arguments to start taking care of the heart …?

Cardiovascular diseases do not only affect postmenopausal women, although during this period the secretion of estrogens, i.e. female sex hormones that protect the heart (dilate and elasticize blood vessels, keep bad cholesterol in check) decreases. But this process begins gradually from the age of 40. Then the concentration of fats in the body, including bad cholesterol, increases, which promotes atherosclerosis, and also doubles the risk of ischemic heart disease and heart attack.

Heart condition will improve with lifestyle change

The fact that younger and younger of us complain about cardiological problems is also associated with high demands placed on women by the modern world. Trying to meet all our obligations, due to the lack of time, we eat badly, do not get enough sleep, smoke cigarettes, abuse alcohol, and take more and more medications. With this lifestyle, the protective effect of estrogens may not be sufficient.

Cardiovascular diseases develop secretly over the years. You can trace them with tests - blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, glucose. To avoid them, take care of your heart from youth. Here's what it does:

Good exercise for the heart

Thanks to it, the heart becomes stronger, it pumps blood more efficiently into the vessels and it tires less. It preferably modifies the lipid profile (ratio of bad cholesterol to good cholesterol and the concentration of total cholesterol), regulates blood glucose levels, slows down the resting heart rate and lowers blood pressure. The best is a long effort of medium intensity (e.g. walking, cycling), performed systematically - every day for 15minutes or 3 or 4 times a week for at least 30 minutes.

Change your habits: climb stairs more often, cover part of the way to work on foot or by bike.

A diet that is good for the heart

There is no place for fatty animal products rich in cholesterol. Eat like the people of the Mediterranean - they have the lowest cardiovascular disease incidence in Europe. Eat sea fish and olive oil (they contain omega-3 fatty acids valuable for the heart), fresh vegetables and fruits, grains, groats and legumes (they are rich in fiber, which lowers cholesterol).

Crunch walnuts and hazelnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds (they contain substances beneficial for the heart, including vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, magnesium, calcium, selenium, omega-3 acids, fiber, plant sterols), reach for dates (a source of natural salicylates that act like aspirin).

Add garlic to your food (it helps lower cholesterol, prevents blood clots). Use herbs instead of s alt (increases blood pressure). You can drink a glass of red wine once a day - the polyphenols present in it have anti-atherosclerotic effects. Such a menu helps you lose weight. This is important because every extra kilogram forces the heart to work harder, and abdominal obesity is a he alth risk.

Sleep and relaxation good for the heart

The heart needs rest. Ignoring this need disrupts the immune system and can be fatal to he alth. US researchers have found that people who sleep less than 6 hours have elevated levels of substances that are a sign of inflammation in the body.

The attention of scientists was drawn to CRP, i.e. acute phase protein - its elevated level may indicate, among others, at increased risk of a heart attack. Therefore, sleep 8 hours a day. Take naps - research shows they help prevent heart disease. Take time to relax each day and do not give up on vacation, because the persistently increased concentration of stress hormones (adrenaline and noradrenaline) leads to an increase in cholesterol and blood pressure, and increases blood clotting.

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