Heart Smarts: Tips for Heart Healthy Living

Armen Hareyan's picture

(NC) Regardless of how healthy you feel, it's never too soon to be aware of your cholesterol levels and ensure you are living a heart healthy lifestyle. There are some easy-to-follow tips that can help you manage your cholesterol and help reduce the chance of heart disease.

Eat well: Limit your intake of saturated and trans fats found in foods such as fatty meats, fried foods and baked goods, as they can raise your cholesterol. Conversely, increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and fibre-rich foods can lower cholesterol levels. Foods such as fish, nuts, brown rice, oatmeal and wholegrain breads and pastas have heart healthy benefits.


Get physical: Exercising regularly which gets your heart rate up helps to improve the overall health and efficiency of the heart. Try to exercise for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day at a moderate intensity most days of the week.

See your doctor: Have regular check-ups and have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels tested. For adults a normal cholesterol level is less than 5.2 mmol/L and a normal triglyceride level is less than 2.3 mmol/L. It's also important to know the ratio of total cholesterol to good cholesterol. Canadian guidelines indicate for patients at a moderate risk this should be less than 5.0. It's also important to manage your blood pressure - a healthy blood pressure is 120/70 mmHg.

Stop smoking: Smoking increases your risk of heart disease.

Statin therapy: For those who have high cholesterol that cannot be managed by exercise and diet alone, there is a class of medications called statins that can successfully help lower cholesterol. Prescribed by your doctor, statins, such as Crestor