In South Africa, heart disease remains one of the biggest health threats, with 225 citizens succumbing to the disease every day.
The arrival of COVID-19 means those with underlying heart conditions face a higher risk, which is why this year’s Heart Awareness Month- celebrated in September- takes on even more significance.
Laager Rooibos, in conjunction with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of South Africa (HSFSA), are encouraging people to get ‘heart healthy’ this month with the Laager Rooibos Heart Health Challenge. HSFSA nutrition team leader, Hayley Cimring, noted, “Heart disease and strokes are currently responsible for one in every five deaths countrywide. Recent studies show that people with a heart condition, vascular disease, or who have suffered a stroke, are at higher risk of complications if they are infected with COVID-19. But the reality is that 80 percent of heart diseases and strokes can be prevented by simply living a healthy lifestyle, which includes healthy eating.”
Laager Rooibos marketing manager, Candice Sessions, shared that switching out certain bad foods and drinks for good, and adopting a few healthier routines, is all it takes to improve heart health.
“These lifestyle changes don’t require a complete overhaul of daily life, but simply making some healthier choices. After a month, these positive habits become entrenched, and it’s easier to sustain these changes going forwards,” she said.
Partnering with renowned South African dietician, Mbali Mapholi, the team from Laager Rooibos has compiled a list of simple lifestyle changes that will make a big difference to improve heart health this month.
Take the Laager Rooibos Heart Health Challenge in 10 easy steps:
Do five minutes of stretching every morning to improve circulation.
Choose drinks carefully- switching out sugary drinks for more nutritious drinks.
Reduce salt consumption in ready-made foods, and use it in moderation when cooking and at the table. Switch out fatty, salty snacks for homemade popcorn flavoured with seasoning.
Switch out full-cream milk and yoghurt for low-fat or fat-free options.
Drink a cup of Laager Rooibos tea before dinner to limit overeating.
Maintain a balanced diet by eating a variety of foods. Aim for colourful plates with plenty of vegetables (at least five different vegetables per day).
Only drink alcohol in moderation.
Keep active by aiming for 30 minutes of walking, running- or any form of moderate exercise- at least five times a week.
Get enough sleep. Set a bed-time goal and stick to it.