Whether or not you’ve got a pre-existing problem like high cholesterol, diabetes, or high blood pressure, taking care of your heart health is a good idea during the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot of the damage the virus can do is linked to cardiac function and good cardiac health could make the difference if you are ever infected.
Here are 5 simple things to do during the pandemic to keep up your heart health.
#1. Keep Tabs On Your BP, Blood Sugar, and Lipid Levels
Minimize your risk of an adverse cardiac event. If your numbers have been shaky, monitor your BP and blood glucose levels at home with a blood pressure monitor and a blood sugar meter, both of which should be easily available in your local pharmacy.
Tracking lipid levels may be hard without a blood test. Right now, follow other measures like exercising and eating healthy to help keep lipids in check.
#2. Get Active For At Least 30 Mins Daily
The WHO says that to avoid heart attacks or strokes, you need to work on overall cardiovascular health. A key part of this is physical activity.
- Get in 30 minutes of exercise daily for general cardiovascular health.
- Moderate intensity aerobic exercise adding up to 150 minutes per week can help lower BP and cholesterol levels.
- Aim at 60 minutes most days for weight management.
#3. Eat Heart-Healthy Foods
For a heart-healthy diet, try and follow these tips:
- Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.
- If you are eating canned fruit/veggies, ensure they are preserved in water or unsweetened juices and not in a sugar syrup or high sodium product.
- Eat heart-healthy, fiber-rich whole grains.
- Strictly avoid trans fats and limit saturated fats to a maximum of 5-6% of your daily intake of calories. Instead, have healthy fats like those in olive oil, avocado, fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Pick lean protein like legumes, eggs, fish and white (poultry) meat over fattier cuts of red meat, organ meats, and full-fat dairy.
- Avoid processed foods, pickles, and salty condiments to reduce sodium intake and keep BP in check.
- Watch your portion size! Avoid second helpings or piling too much on your plate.
#4. Stay Home, Take COVID-19 Precautions
If you have a pre-existing condition like high BP or a heart problem, be extra careful about COVID-19 prevention techniques as you fall into an “higher risk” category. Do not go out unless it is essential.
Keep up to date with the latest precautions suggested by health authorities and follow them religiously.
#5. Take Your Medication & Keep in Touch With Your Doctor
Ensure you have at least one month’s supply of BP or other heart medication at home and replace it before it runs down. Do not stop taking your medication unless specifically advised by your doctor.
In case you notice any unusual symptoms or feel any discomfort, speak with your doctor on the phone.