Take our quiz to find out if your heart health knowledge adds up
Are you good to your heart?
A stressful relationship, not eating enough produce and even your choice of birth control can all take a toll on your heart. “Although one’s risk for heart disease starts to increase at midlife, even young women need to be aware of their risk,” says Dr. Beth Abramson, a cardiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and a spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “It’s never too early or too late to make a heart-healthy choice.” Take our
quiz and learn more about how to keep your ticker in top shape. >>
1. Your weekly exercise routine consists of:
a) 30 minutes of running or aerobics five days a week
c) 60 minutes of yoga and meditation five days a week
Stay active (a,b,c), but include heart-smart activities (a,b)
A U.S. study of 27,055 healthy women found that even one to two hours of moderately intense physical activity each week, such as brisk walking, contributed to a 27 percent reduction in cardiovascular events. (Women who exercised more than five hours a week had a 41 percent reduction.) While sun salutations may not get your heart pumping as much, yoga still has positive impacts on waist circumference, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
After a bad day at the office, you:
a) yell at your spouse, your kids or anyone who will listen
Make nice (b)—it’s good for you
In a study of 8,499 healthy Brits, those who experienced poor support and nasty spats with their significant other were 34 percent more likely to experience a heart attack or chest pain. Another study found that happier people had lower levels of cortisol—a stress hormone linked to high blood pressure, among other ills.
Your preferred method of birth control is:
a) the pill—you’ve been using it for years
b) condoms, IUD or diaphragm
c) abstaining from sex
Talk to your doc if you answered (a)
Long-term use might lead to hardening of the arteries, according to Belgian researchers. Don’t panic, as these observations might not apply to lower-dose pills. But discuss your options, especially if you smoke or are overweight.
When you look in the mirror, the fruit you most resemble is a:
a) pear (full hips, small waist)
b) apple (round in the middle)
c) banana (long and lean)
Reduce calories and exercise more if you answered (b)
Apple-shaped people—those with a high waist-to-hip ratio—are almost twice as likely to have calcium deposits in their coronary arteries as those with a low ratio, even if their body mass index falls within a healthy range, according to a recent U.S. study.
The foods you eat most during the day are:
a) vegetables, fruits and legumes such as chickpeas or black beans
b) red meat and chicken, and white rice and pasta
c) fruit juices, refined cereals and packaged meals
Eat more foods from (a)
Savouring lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish and legumes, and drinking no more than a glass of wine a day, lowered heart attack risk by 57 percent, according to a Swedish study of 24,444 post-menopausal women. (Exercising, maintaining a healthy body weight and not smoking slashed risk even further.) Go easy on meats and refined carbs, too. Women with diabetes—who are at higher risk for heart disease—should especially watch cholesterol levels, so ditch the processed foods and sugary snacks.