It may sound like an odd question, but do you know how old your heart is? If you assume it’s the same number as your actual age, you may need to think again…
It turns out that a combination of unhealthy eating and increasingly sedentary lifestyles is causing many of our hearts to age prematurely. In fact, 50 may be the new 60 for some, as nearly one in five middle-aged men and one in 10 women in the UK have a ‘heart age’ of someone a decade older.
This follows Public Health England analysis – based on a test (asking questions about weight, height and lifestyle) taken by 1.2 million people aged over 30 in England – which shows that 83 per cent of men and 73 per cent of women have prematurely ageing hearts.
Officials are particularly worried about the over 50s – the age at which heart health typically starts to decline – as the findings revealed that 18 per cent of men and 14 per cent of women in their 50s have hearts ageing 10 years faster than the rest of their bodies. Things were found to only worsen with age, with 43 per cent of men and 33 per cent of women in their 70s having a heart age a decade older than it should be.
Having a high heart age puts you at increased risk of heart attack, stroke, dementia, chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Jamie Waterall, in charge of cardiovascular disease prevention at Public Health England, said: “We should all aim for our heart age to be the same as our real age – addressing our risk of heart disease and stroke should not be left until we are older.”
To work out the age of your heart, take The Heart Age Test, which is on the British Heart Foundation’s website: www.bhf.org.uk.
Don’t panic if the results reveal that your heart age is higher than your actual age. The good news is that simple changes can bring this number down and help prevent heart-related problems from developing.
You can do this without resorting to side-effect-ridden statin drugs – which lower levels of the heart-critical nutrient CoQ10 and are virtually useless anyway in people who haven’t already had a heart attack – no matter what your doctor tells you! Opt instead for a heart-friendly regimen of diet and exercise.
• Don’t smoke.
• Avoid sugar and eat a low glycaemic load (GL) diet. Sugar raises your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
• Exercise regularly. It lowers your blood pressure and blood-sugar levels and improves your blood fat profile, all things that reduce heart disease risk.
• Ignore the low-fat dogma. A good mix of healthy fats, including some saturated fat (such as butter), is best for heart health.
• In particular, eat oily fish, walnuts and linseeds, to get the heart-protecting benefits of their omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, those in oily fish have been found to lower blood pressure, prevent blood platelets from clumping and dramatically lower blood fat levels. They can also help lower C-reactive protein – a marker of cardiovascular inflammation – to normal.
• Take supplements of CoQ10, vitamin D and B vitamins; all have been shown to reduce cardiovascular risks. B group vitamins, for instance, have been found to help prevent the amino acid homocysteine from causing arterial damage and can reduce the risk of a heart attack.
• Keep your blood pressure within a healthy range by keeping your weight down and upping your intake of garlic and magnesium.
Here's to your good health,
Journal Of Natural Health Solutions
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