What is the leading killer worldwide and the second-biggest killer in South Africa, second only to HIV/AIDS? The answer is heart disease and strokes, with 230 people dying every day from some form of cardiovascular disease. There is good news however. According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa at least 80% of premature deaths caused by cardiovascular disease can be prevented if you avoid tobacco, exercise and eat healthily. With Heart Awareness Month taking place in September we thought we would give you the lowdown on how you can protect yourself and your family against heart disease and strokes.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation these are the building blocks of a healthy diet:
- Eat at least 5 fruit and veg every day
- Eat high fibre and whole grain foods, for example brown rice instead of white, oats, lentils etc.
- Fatty fishes like sardines, pilchards and mackerel should be eaten twice a week at least
- Eat lean meat and don’t eat red meat more than 2 – 3 times a week
- Buy fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Limit your salt and sugar intake. Remember that both salt and sugar are added to processed foods!
- Drink in moderation (1 drink a day for women and 2 for men)
- Use fat sparingly. Try and eat 'good' fats, for example vegetable oils, seeds and nuts, instead of so-called 'bad' fats, which include fatty meat and fried food
The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that you do at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week.
Tobacco increases your risk of developing not only cardiovascular disease but other illnesses as well, including cancer. If you need help kicking the habit contact The Quit Line on 011 720 3145, Monday to Friday from 8am to 4.30pm or the Heart and Stroke Healthline at 08601Heart (43278).
Speak to your doctor about scheduling regular check-ups. Your doctor should check your cholesterol, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, weight and BMI, among other factors.
And essential part of your plan to protect yourself and your family against serious illnesses like heart attacks and strokes is dread disease cover. A dread disease cover policy will provide you with the financial protection you need against serious illnesses. Your pay out can be used to cover any medical bills not paid by your medical aid or to take care of basic living expenses while you are recuperating.
Find out more about dread disease cover from 1Life or contact us for a quote today on 0860 10 53 40.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa