Raising awareness of heart health for National Heart Month with ten tips for a healthy heart...
- Heart conditions and circulatory diseases account for more than 161,000 of deaths in the UK each year.
- Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the UK’s biggest killer with one in six men and one in ten women dying from it.
- Around 74,000 deaths in the UK each year is from CHD
Keeping a healthy heart is essential to a long healthy life; however, it’s not that difficult to do in the most part. It’s about changing your lifestyle habits
Take a look at our ten tips for a healthy heart below and even if you can make one positive change, you could extend your time you have here, to enjoy life…
1. Take regular exercise
It’s well known that regular daily exercise can help to keep our hearts healthy. 30 minutes a day over five days can be enough to keep you healthy and trim (if with a healthy diet too).
If you’re a well and mobile person, then brisk walks, dancing or cycling are great things to do, and you can involve the whole family. If you’re older or less mobile, then walking or swimming are good alternatives.
2. De-stress yourself
Stress causes cortisol to pump through your body – this is a hormone which can put great stress on your heart. Exercise can relieve stress, and so can meditation. Some cognitive behavioural therapy can teach you how to manage stress and relax. It’s worth a chat with your GP if you are a regularly stressed person.
3. Manage your weight
Weight management plays a large part in having a healthy heart. The more excess weight you carry, the more stress you are adding to your heart.
Exercise and de-stressing can help with weight management. Eating a healthy diet also helps.
4. Check your body shape
From body shape studies, body shape and body mass index (BMI), along with other factors as listed here are now believed to be an indicator as to how at risk you might be for heart issues.
The NHS advises that watching your BMI and body shape, as well as adopting other healthy lifestyle choices will reduce your risk.
5. 5 a day keeps the doctor away
The good old 5 a day really does ensure that you are getting the right nutrition. Varying your 5 a day can help, and by choosing particular foods that help with heart health.
Choosing a range of fruit and vegetable colours and types can ensure that you obtain a range of vitamins and nutrients.
6. Eating for heart health
Some foods are particularly healthy for the heart, these are mainly natural whole foods such as; fruit and veg, beans, nuts, seeds, oatmeal.
One theory is to eat red foods as they are high in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants. Healthy red foods include Red currant, Red grapes, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Red peppers.
7. Avoiding bad for the heart foods
Anything processed or with high levels of salt is bad for the heart. If you are in a higher risk of heart disease, or older, then it’s best to avoid as much as possible.
If you are younger and generally healthy, then consider how often you eat takeaways or ready meals – limit your intake of these foods, moderation is best
8. Maintain a healthy cholesterol level
A good healthy diet can really help to keep your cholesterol levels low. High cholesterol is a severe health risk and a major cause of heart attacks.
Eat things that are low in saturated fat such as nuts, and seeds. Avoiding things like too much cake and biscuits. You can find healthy alternatives such as looking at what vegan treats are available, or look in the local health store for some healthy treats if you like snacking.
9. Maintain a healthy blood pressure
Watch the salt; just stop adding it to things and stop using in cooking. It’s a bit like stopping taking sugar in your tea. After a few weeks, you’ll get used to it and most natural foods have a variety of delicious tastes of their own, so no salt is needed. Try using natural herbs and spices instead. Avoid foods which are high in salt such as cheeses, salted nuts, crisps, cereals, sausages, salami, bacon, pizza, sauces, gravy granules, stock cubes.
Regular exercise will also help to keep the blood pressure healthy and keep your arteries in good condition. Try walking, light jogging, regular swimming, dancing and even gardening is a good exercise.
10. Drinking less and quit smoking
Drinking and smoking places a great strain on the heart, both should be avoided. But you already knew that!
Again, moderation is best – think about how many drinks you have in a week and if over the recommended levels, make a note to monitor and reduce your alcohol intake. Take a look at drinkaware.co.uk where you can monitor your unit intake. And remember that alcohol can be high in calories too, so reducing your alcohol consumption will help you to maintain a healthy weight.
If you’re a smoker then giving up can dramtically improve your health. You can get smoking cessation support from the NHS or your local GP.
Give your heart some love…
So, go on a mission to help your heart and what better time to start than National Heart Month!
Get some readings of your blood pressure, cholesterol, BMI and body shape ratio. Then take regular readings after that, to track your progress! If you keep up some, all, or even one to start with, of these tips – you’ll quickly see a difference.
Start your journey to a healthier heart today
Carewatch supports National Heart Month
Article by CarewatchCare