If You Want A Healthy Heart For Life, Do These 2 Small, Simple Things
Try HIIT training, don't eat three hours before bedtime, do eat plenty of omega-3s, and decrease stress with 10 minutes of meditation a day. There are so many small ways to improve our health that it can be difficult to know where to start. Which small changes have the biggest impact? Will any of them really make a difference? Well, according to new research, there are two small lifestyle changes that can significantly reduce your risk for having a heart attack or stroke.
According to the study, which was two-pronged and will be presented at the American College of Cardiology's 68th Annual Scientific Session, people who spend less time watching TV and regularly eat an energy-rich breakfast have less plaque and stiffness in their arteries.
The researchers assessed data collected from 2,000 people—ranging from 40 to 99 years old—living in Greece. Some of them were healthy, and others had heart disease or risk factors that put them at risk for heart attack or stroke. After accounting for these risk factors, the scientists discovered that people who watched the most TV (more than 21 hours per week) were almost twice as likely to have plaque buildup compared to the participants who watched the least amount of TV (less than seven hours per week).
According to Sotirios Tsalamandris, M.D., a cardiologist and the study's lead author, this tells us that it's of the utmost importance to avoid sitting or lying down for long periods of time. "These findings suggest a clear message to hit the 'off' button on your TV and abandon your sofa. Even activities of low energy expenditure, such as socializing with friends or housekeeping activities, may have a substantial benefit to your health compared to time spent sitting and watching TV," he explained.
And although intermittent fasting is becoming more popular by the day, this study also showed that people consuming a high-energy breakfast had healthier arteries than people who ate little or no breakfast. More specifically, people skipping breakfast had abnormal arterial stiffness 15 percent of the time. That number went down to 9.5 percent and 8.7 percent for those eating a low-energy breakfast and a high-energy breakfast, respectively.
So while this study won't likely spur you to overhaul your morning routine if you feel it's working for you, it is a nice reminder to turn off the TV and be more conscious about your food choices, especially in the morning. Plus, it's always nice to know that making small changes to your daily routine can actually make a measurable impact on your future health.
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