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Monday, May 20, 2024

5 Heart Health Myths and Facts

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5 Heart Health Myths and Facts

Test your knowledge with these five heart health myths and facts, and pick up some new tips to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

Think you know what it takes to live a heart-smart life? Test your knowledge with these five heart health myths and facts, and pick up some new tips to keep your ticker in tip-top shape.

If I’m a woman, I don’t need to worry about heart health.

MYTH. Heart disease (including heart attacks) has been unfairly categorized as a male disease, but this simply isn’t true. Women can, and do, suffer from heart disease; in fact, it’s the number one cause of death for women in Canada who are over the age of 55. Why don’t we realize this? Unfortunately, it likely has much to do with how women have been underrepresented in heart health trials in the medical field. Women who have diabetes are at an even greater risk of heart disease.

Oral health impacts heart health.

FACT. Sure does! Brushing and flossing regularly is important for overall health and cardiovascular health, as well as oral health. But don’t stop there! Schedule regular cleanings at your dentist, including the all-important teeth scaling. Recent research has shown that not only are heart health and oral health linked, but preventive dentistry can also play a role in maintaining heart health. Open wide…

A low fat diet will protect me from heart disease.

MYTH. Let’s be clear: some types of fat, such as trans fats, are very detrimental to heart health. However, trans fats aside, the picture is a bit more complicated than we’re told. First off, some fats, such as those found in a Mediterranean diet, play a role in preventing heart disease.

Moreover, researchers are beginning to realize that a decrease in overall fat doesn’t mean a decrease in heart disease. Much-scorned saturated fats actually play a role in a healthy diet, but we shouldn’t go overboard. Even eggs can be part of a heart-healthy diet!

Diet and exercise are the only lifestyle factors I can control

MYTH. There are a lot of factors we can take steps to control, from sleeping enough to lowering our stress levels. Even for those with heart disease in the family, it’s important to realize that we hold a lot of power, and lifestyle choices make a big difference. Learn more about what you can do every day in our article “Daily Heart Health Planner.”

Chocolate is heart-healthy

FACT (sort of). February means Valentine’s Day, which often means chocolates in a heart-shaped box. However, those sticky caramels and fruit creams aren’t the kind of chocolate that’s been touted for its heart-healthy benefits. To reap the rewards of our favourite candy, choose chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa, which is packed full of antioxidants … and don’t eat the whole box. For more chocolate tips and info, check out our article “Chocolate: Unwrapping the Food of the Gods.”

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