February Is National Heart Awareness Month
Heart disease is the second-leading cause of death in Canada, with 1 in 12 Canadians ages 20 and older living with diagnosed heart disease. Despite its prevalence, many people still don’t fully understand what heart disease is, how to identify the signs or how to reduce their risk. To increase awareness of heart disease and how to prevent it, the Canadian government recognizes February as Heart Month.
Definition of Heart Disease
Heart disease can refer to any condition from which the heart does not work properly. This can include heart defects that are present from birth, as well as those that develop later on by biological or lifestyle risk factors. Heart disease can lead to a heart attack, heart failure and death.
There are many different types of heart disease, including:
- Coronary artery disease—Arteries are narrowed or blocked.
- Vascular disease—There is reduced blood flow to the heart from other blood vessels.
- Heart rhythm disorders—Heartbeat is too slow, quick or disorganized.
- Structural heart disease—There is an irregular heart structure, which may be present from birth.
- Heart failure—The heart can no longer pump blood effectively. This is usually caused by heart attack or high blood pressure.
Identifying the Signs
Signs of heart disease vary depending on the type. Chest pain, pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in legs or arms, shortness of breath, fluttering in your chest, breathlessness at rest and changes in heart rhythm are all signs of possible heart disease.
Reducing the Risk
Although not all risk factors for heart disease can be controlled, many can. The primary risk factors include an unhealthy diet, being physically inactive, an unhealthy weight, smoking, stress, and excessive alcohol and drug abuse. Generally speaking, living a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
7 Tips for Staying Healthy at Work
Staying healthy at work can be difficult, especially for those with mostly sedentary desk jobs. However, without good health, you’re not able to perform to the best of your abilities. Follow these tips to help stay healthy at work:
- Eat healthy—It can be tempting to reach for a communal office snack, or to go out for lunch as an excuse to get out of the office. However, doing so can add hundreds of unwanted calories to your diet. Bring your own healthy lunch and snack options to work as often as possible, and stick to eating that throughout your day.
- Drink plenty of water—Drinking the recommended eight to 10 glasses of water a day can not only help you feel hydrated, but also help you to feel full, making it easier to avoid overeating. While it may be tempting to reach for a cup of coffee instead, try to restrict yourself to one cup each morning to prevent caffeine crash later in the day.
- Practise good posture—Many people tend to unconsciously stretch their neck forward toward their computer monitor while they work, which can put unnecessary pressure on the neck and spine. Instead, make a conscious effort to maintain good posture throughout the day.
- Take breaks—Taking a break may seem like a waste of time, but it can actually help you to be more productive. A quick chat with co-workers or a walk around the office can help rejuvenate your mind and body so you feel fresh and productive once you return to work.
- Keep your work area clean—A cluttered work area can contribute to feelings of stress. Clean your workspace before leaving every night so you return to a clean and organized area the next day.
- Practise good hygiene—To prevent yourself from getting sick or spreading sickness to your co-workers, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer at your desk and use it after coughing, sneezing or touching any communal items like pots of coffee, drawer handles or railings. Additionally, avoid close contact with co-workers who may be sick, and stay home to recuperate if you yourself get sick.
- Manage stress—Juggling work projects can be exhausting and stressful. Try to balance out your stress by doing things you enjoy in your free time, getting exercise and taking occasional breaks from your work.
Recipe of the Month – Tandoori Chicken
Makes: 4 servings
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 cups plain, low-fat yogourt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, finely grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
- Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap, and pound them to just under 0.5 cm thick all over.
- Whisk together the yogourt, lemon juice, curry powder, ginger, garlic and 1 tsp salt in a medium bowl. Cut 5 shallow diagonal slits on both sides of each chicken breast. Add the breasts to the bowl with the yogourt mixture and toss to coat. Let it stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the broiler and position a rack 4 cm from the heating element. Line a baking sheet or skillet with foil.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade, and discard the marinade. Place the chicken on the baking sheet or in the skillet. Broil the chicken for 10 to 12 minutes, flipping it halfway through and until it’s firm, charred in spots and has no visible pinkness inside. Let cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro, and serve with rice and roasted cauliflower or your favourite vegetable.
Source: Government of Canada
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