Let’s talk about men’s health, in particular heart health. It may sound a little scary, but heart disease is the leading cause of death and disability not only in Australia and New Zealand but around the world. Two in five men (that’s 40%!) aged 45-74 have a moderate to high risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Despite the high risk, the good news is that for many men heart disease and serious complications such as heart attack and stroke can be preventable. However less than half of men are going to their GP for a heart health check. So guys, your first step is to see your GP for a check up!
There’s also a lot you can do personally with your lifestyle that can help reduce your risk:
1. Look at ways you could improve your diet
• Increase your intake of heart healthy fats found in olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds, avocado. If you’re on the Jenny Craig program, your consultant will show you how to include these on your menu.
• Limit saturated fat intake by choosing reduced fat dairy products and lean meats. Did you know that the Jenny Craig menu has less than 10% saturated fat?
• Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and choose wholegrains – all of which are linked to people having healthier hearts.
• Reduce your salt intake – choose products with ‘no added salt’ or ‘low salt’ and avoid adding salt in cooking or at the table. You can use a variety of herbs and spices as flavor enhancers instead.
• Reduce your alcohol intake.
2. Increase your physical activity
Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days. Something is better than nothing, so any progress you make towards the recommended amount is beneficial.
3. don’t watch your health go up in smoke
If you’re a smoker, take action to stop smoking.
4. take steps to manage stress
Stress can increase your risk of heart disease. Consider relaxation and stress management techniques such as meditation, prioritising sleep, exercise, or talking with a professional.
5. watch your waist
Aim to achieve a healthy weight with a waist measurement less than 94cm.
The good news is that every positive change you make will have an impact on your health. Aim to make small changes where you can and build on these good habits over time!