Love Your Heart, Live Life Fully!

Love Your Heart, Live Life Fully!

The heart, the most vital human organ, acts like an ‘engine’ - pumping blood, delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. However, cardiovascular disease is the world’s No. 1 killer. In Singapore, 17 people die daily from cardiovascular diseases (including heart disease and stroke). In fact, in 2018, a third of deaths here were due to cardiovascular diseases.

What is heartening to note is that 80% of premature heart attacks and strokes are preventable. “It is very important to check and control the risk factors regularly – they include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar, “says Dr. Eric Chong, a cardiologist from ESC Cardiovascular & Medicine Clinic. 


7 Heart Healthy Tips

1. Choose healthy fats

While you need to include fat in your diet, go for foods with healthy fats. Avoid deep fried foods, high cholesterol foods, such as animal organs, prawns and crabs. Include foods high in Omega-3 fats such as mackerel, salmon (at least 180 grams a week), as well as avocadoes and nuts, which help to support healthy cholesterol levels. Also, consider Omega-3 fish oil supplementation to support your Omega-3 intake.


2. Choose good carbs

Carbohydrates are a source of energy, apart from fats and proteins.  It breaks down into glucose (also known as ‘blood sugar’) to give you energy. Based on Health Promotion Board ‘My Healthy Plate’ guide, carbohydrates should account for a quarter of your meal plate. Go for good carbs like wholegrain foods (brown rice or barley), which can better help control blood sugar levels versus white rice, white bread or noodles.


3. Reduce salt and sugar intake

The average daily salt intake for Singaporeans is 9g; this far exceeds the recommended daily intake of 5g. Studies have shown that reducing the average daily salt intake to 5g (one teaspoon) or less can help to lower blood pressure. As for sugar, the recommended daily intake is 25g (six teaspoons).


4. Get sufficient Vitamin D

“Vitamin D also helps to support heart health, apart from bone, muscle strength and immune health,” says Dr. Chong. Strive for 5-30 minutes of sun exposure at least twice daily. Include fatty fish like salmon, egg yolks, butter and fortified milk in your diet. It is significant to note that a study revealed almost 8 in 10 Singaporeans do not get enough Vitamin D. In addition to sun exposure and including Vitamin D food sources in your diet, consider Vitamin D supplementation to help meet your daily intake. Being a fat-soluble nutrient, consider choosing one in a soft gel over a tablet form for better absorption.


5. Exercise daily for 30 minutes

A daily 30-minute exercise of swimming, brisk walking or yoga helps to support your heart health. If you have a busy work schedule, you may choose to climb the stairs when you return from lunch break or engage in house chores such as mopping the floor to get your heart pumping.


6. Maintain a healthy weight

Being overweight, having a large waist circumference is one of the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most common measure used to assess weight-related risk. A BMI of between 18 and 22.9 is ideal, while a high BMI indicates that your risk is high.

You can check for your BMI here


7. Quit smoking and reduce alcohol intake

Both smoking and inhaling secondhand smoke are harmful to heart health. Smoking reduces oxygen supply in the blood and increases blood pressure; this causes the heart to work harder to provide enough oxygen for our body’s needs, including the brain. Daily alcohol consumption should be limited to 2 glasses.



*The advice and the appearance of this expert in the article should not be construed to be a recommendation of any product.