Heart failure is a growing epidemic in Canada, according to a new report from the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
This debilitating condition, which has no cure, is the end result of most heart disease. About 50,000 new cases of heart failure are diagnosed in Canada each year.
Because heart failure results from the damage caused by heart attacks and other disease, the best way to protect yourself is by reducing your risk of heart disease in the first place.
These tips can get you started on the right path:
Keep your diet simple. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that consists of a variety of natural/whole and minimally processed foods, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, a variety of protein sources including lower fat dairy and alternatives, lean meat, poultry and fish, and whole grains. Avoid highly processed foods.
Planning makes perfect. Plan your meals each week and make a list before heading to the grocery store. Cook healthy meals in bigger batches and freeze them.
Sip smart. Reach for water or lower fat plain milk (2% MF or less) when you’re thirsty. Skip sugar-loaded beverages including soft drinks, fruit drinks and specialty teas and coffees; they’re high in added sugar with no nutritional value.
Find what moves you. No need to go to a gym, just do whatever you enjoy – any activity can have a positive impact. And remember, if you are pressed for time, you can work in activity in 10-minute bouts.
Mix it up. Try new foods such as a new fruit or vegetable each time you shop, and choose a new recipe to try each week. Vary your exercise as well: yard work one day, an exercise class the next, and a ski or bike ride after that. Play in the park with the kids or take a walk with a friend or neighbour.
Additional information is available at heartandstroke.ca, where you can also donate to the foundation online.