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Cardiovascular diseases:how to preserve women's hearts?

Cardiovascular diseases affect one in three women and yet are too often misdiagnosed. And yet! Stress, tobacco, poor diets and the pill contribute to increasing the phenomenon! Here are some tips to preserve our hearts.

The best gift you can give to your heart? A healthy lifestyle. "Most cardiovascular conditions are indeed preventable, notes Dr. Jean-François Toussaint, cardiologist and professor of physiology at the University of Paris-Descartes. Prohibit tobacco, practice thirty minutes of daily physical activity and adopt a diet already enough to reduce the risk of heart attack by more than 50%.

Easy in appearance, but not always easy to implement.

Haro on sugar

To start, we must remove from our plates one of our worst enemies:refined white sugar. American researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta demonstrated in February 2014 that its excessive consumption considerably increases the probability of developing a heart or vascular pathology. Exit sweets, industrial desserts or sodas of all kinds. When added sugar represents a quarter of our daily energy intake, the risk is tripled! Going for sweeteners is also not a good calculation. Especially after 50 years.

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A large study presented at the congress of the American College of Cardiology, at the end of March in Washington, established that postmenopausal women who drink two light sodas a day have a risk of heart attack increased by 29% compared to those who do not. drink only occasionally (maximum three per month). It is also better to avoid draconian diets which induce nutritional deficits, especially in sodium and potassium, minerals essential for good heart health.

The best protective shield is undoubtedly the Mediterranean diet, which gives pride of place to fish, olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes (lentils, dried beans), nuts and almonds. It has been recommended for a long time, but the proof of its benefits has been definitively provided by the New England Journal of Medicine , in February 2013. Its long-term adoption reduces the incidence of angina pectoris and strokes by at least 30%. Not negligible!

Of course, nothing prevents you from also putting a little meat on the menu, but without forcing too much on beef, lamb, pork and charcuterie, because the iron they deliver in quantity is pro-oxidant:it attacks the wall of the arteries by promoting the profusion of free radicals which cause them to age prematurely. The iron provided by plants and eggs does not cause the same damage. The Mediterranean diet reduces the incidence of angina pectoris and strokes by at least 30%. Not negligible!

Don't skip breakfast

All nutritionists recommend not skipping this first morning meal to better distribute nutritional intake throughout the day in order to avoid fatigue and weight gain.

But an American study shows that this ritual is also crucial for heart health. Conducted on more than 27,000 people by Harvard University, it establishes that breakfast zappers have a 27% greater risk of being struck by a heart attack than those who take a balanced snack in the morning. Similarly, snacking at night also increases the risks. This study, published last summer in the journal Circulation , suggests the importance of not upsetting our natural biological clock which not only governs the alternation of our sleep and wake cycles, but also the proper functioning of our cardiovascular system.

Sport, a friend who wants us well

Another major pillar of cardiovascular prevention:the fight against a sedentary lifestyle. When you move regularly, the blood vessels gain in elasticity, the blood pressure improves, as well as the resting heart rate. Over time, the heart also learns to save itself. At the same effort, he acquires a larger energy reserve, which allows him to run out of breath less quickly and recover better after an effort. As numerous scientific studies have proven, it also becomes less sensitive to stress. So less palpitations and rises in tension in the face of annoyances.

To take advantage of these virtues, doctors recommend above all the practice of endurance activities (cycling, brisk walking, swimming, etc.), twenty to forty minutes three times a week. The objective is not to force excessively, but to make a prolonged effort of moderate intensity.

And if there is only one sport to remember, it is aquagym. In its April 2014 edition, the International Journal of Cardiology describes the wonders it performs on our cardiovascular system, especially in cases of anxiety or declared hypertension. In just twelve weeks, it brings deep psychic relief and stabilization of blood pressure. In addition to the intense movements carried out smoothly, the comforting presence of water plays a determining role on a physical and emotional level. Important, given the damage caused by stress on the heart. Badly managed, it unbalances our hormonal secretions and increases our susceptibility to cardiovascular disease by about 40%, according to cardiologists at Brigham Hospital in Boston.

Meditation, an anti-stress discipline

No need to be a Buddhist monk to get started. "Mindfulness meditation is a cognitive and behavioral therapy that helps fight against the harmful effects of stress, anxiety and depression, says Alexis Le Cornec, meditation instructor. More than 200 medical studies have validated its benefits. "

Researchers at Saint John's Hospital in Detroit, for example, showed in March 2010 that regular practice halved the risk of heart attack. The principle is simple:it's about muzzling your negative thoughts to fully embrace the present moment with kindness, without any judgment. In the long run, the brain reprograms itself positively, lets go more easily and reacts less quickly. Our heart is therefore less heckled. To find a trainer near you:go to

The importance of having a positive attitude

Being good in your head is essential to being good in your heart. We know this intuitively. But a survey published in the summer of 2011 in the journal of the European Society of Cardiology scientifically demonstrated. Carried out on 8,000 British civil servants, it scrutinized for six years all the aspects of their lives likely to influence their daily happiness:romantic relationships, hobbies, financial well-being, professional fulfillment, family life... Each participant regularly assessed their level of satisfaction in each area. The results were then checked against their medical records.

Verdict:a high level of satisfaction is associated with an average reduction of 13% in the risk of coronary heart disease. A "dose effect" has even been observed:the happier an individual feels in life, the less he is a victim of myocardial infarction and angina pectoris, regardless of his body mass index, his diet and the intensity of his sports practice. Like what, a positive state of mind can alone protect against diseases. It is therefore urgent to look at the glass half full, rather than the glass half empty.

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