A father teaching his son how to cut vegetables

A balance of nutrition and exercise equals a healthy heart

If you could make a few small changes that would make a big difference for your heart health, would you? The good news is that most of these changes are not difficult to make. Your heart will thank you.

With the incidence of heart attack and stroke on the rise in Canada, heart health is more important than ever. A heart attack happens when a blockage occurs in an artery that carries blood to the heart. If the blockage occurs in an artery that carries blood to the brain, the result is a stroke. You can reduce your chances of heart attack and stroke by limiting foods that are high in fat and cholesterol. These are the foods that can cause plaque buildup in your arteries and eventually create a blockage. To keep your heart healthy, eat lean cuts of meat in small portions, fish, skinless chicken or turkey, and bake, broil or grill your food. Avoid frying and minimize eating fatty foods. In general, eat at home more often and avoid take-out and fast foods, eat large amounts of fruits and vegetables, and avoid processed sugars.

Another important factor in heart health is exercise. Aerobic exercise helps pump blood to the heart, making your heart stronger, but any exercise that increases your heart rate is beneficial, including high-intensity training, weight lifting, yoga or riding a bike. When you combine healthy eating with exercise, you burn calories faster and are better able to maintain a healthy weight.