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Timely tips for heart-healthy living

(NC) Health-conscious Canadians are paying particular attention to cardiovascular health. Seasonal changes can sometimes throw us off our regular routines and some people discard heart-healthy habits for more convenient, unhealthy behaviours. In fact, statistics show that as many as 40% of Canadians have high cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

Experts say the most important factors in cholesterol management are healthy lifestyle choices like a nutritious diet, regular physical activity and not smoking. During the winter months, some people find they lapse in these areas as they spend more time indoors to avoid the chilly weather and enjoy more hearty winter meals. Here are some tips to help you stay heart healthy this season.

1) Try to consume more heart-healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts and berries. Avoid foods with high levels of trans fats. If you do decide to indulge in convenience or comfort foods, try to reduce your portion size.

2) Get outside and enjoy all that winter has to offer. Bundling up and going for a brisk winter stroll can be a great way to get exercise and appreciate the snowy landscape. If you have a pair of skates, visit an outdoor rink – this is the only time of year they're open.

3) If you are a smoker, try to cut down or quit smoking this winter. Don't be afraid to reach out to friends and family members for support.

When lifestyle changes aren't enough, Dr. Chris Mohr, RD, PhD, recommends a probiotic supplement that can help bridge the gap between diet, exercise and drugs. “Cardioviva is the only probiotic that's been clinically proven to help reduce bad cholesterol,” says Dr. Mohr. This supplement has been shown to help maintain healthy cholesterol levels by reducing the amount we absorb from food and the amount the body naturally produces.

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