How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Top Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Heart

healthy heartA balanced lifestyle is key to maintaining a healthy heart. It’s something you should be thinking about whether you’re in your twenties or your sixties, as heart disease can occur at any time.

Making a few simple changes to the way you live your life can help to improve your heart health. You will notice improvements in your general health and wellbeing too!

Keep Fit

Staying active has multiple health benefits, including significantly reducing the risk of heart problems. What’s more, it can also prevent you from developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure and becoming overweight.

If you’re not used to regular exercise, it’s best to start off slowly – there’s nothing worse than getting an injury! Ease yourself into a routine with simple things like a fast walk, or a slow jog. Did you know that walking is one of the best exercises to maintain a healthy heart?

couple running in the parkWhen you think you’re up to doing something more strenuous, you could try exercise classes at your local gym or a home workout DVD.

To keep your heart healthy you should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Maintaining an exercise routine can be difficult with the hustle and bustle of daily life. If you don’t want to go to the gym, why not try taking a brisk walk to work instead of using the car?

A Healthy, Balanced Diet

It’s important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, but it can be hard to resist temptation.

Five-a-Day

fruit and vegetablesA good place to start is by making sure you eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. According to new studies, squeezing ten portions into your daily diet has even more benefits.

Incorporate more portions into your meals by adding fruit to your breakfast, and indulging in vegetable packed stir-frys, stews and casseroles for dinner. When you fancy a snack, try eating a piece of fruit instead of a biscuit.

Eat More Fibre

Fibre is another diet must-have to help decrease the risk of heart disease. Adults should aim to eat 30 g of fibre a day. Good sources of fibre include oats, lentils, beans, bran and whole grain cereals.

Cut Down on Saturated Fats

A diet high in saturated fat can lead to high cholesterol, which has a negative impact on your heart. Try swapping sausages and bacon for leaner cuts of meat like chicken and turkey. It’s also worth cutting down on dairy items like butter and cheese. Or why not try the reduced fat alternatives?

Reduce Salt Intake

Reduce your salt intake to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Your body’s reaction to a high salt intake is to retain water which can lead to high blood pressure. This puts a strain on your heart’s arteries and can lead to angina.

Anything with more than 1.5 g of salt is considered high, and you should aim to consume less than 6g of salt a day.

Eat More Fish

Did you know that fish is incredibly good for you? Omega-3 fats can help protect against heart disease, and it’s recommended that you try and eat at least one portion a week. Fatty fish, like mackerel and salmon, contain the right types of fat and are readily available in supermarkets.

Quit Smoking

Giving up smoking is one of the best things you can do for your health. Smoking not only increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease but can also lead to other life-threatening conditions.

The quitting process can be tough, but there’s plenty of help available. Your Doctor will be able to advise you on stop smoking services. These services are free of charge, and greatly improve the chances of you quitting.

quit smokingNHS stop smoking services include an initial consultation where you will discuss the reasons why you would like to quit. You can also take a breath test to determine how much carbon monoxide is currently in your body.

You will be offered different treatments which include Nicotine replacement therapy and E-cigarettes. Both of these methods deliver nicotine into your body without the other harmful toxins found in cigarettes.

If you would prefer to go it alone, put together a stop smoking plan and set yourself a realistic deadline for quitting. It’s also worth considering your diet, as some foods can make cigarettes more satisfying.

Drink Less Alcohol

drink less alcoholRegular alcohol consumption can result in significant weight gain, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease.

It’s recommended that we consume no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. In relatable terms, this equates to six small (175 ml) glasses of wine. Keeping within the guidelines is beneficial for your weight and your heart.

Mental Health is Important

Mental health is just as important as your physical health when it comes to preventing heart disease. People who suffer from serious mental health problems are up to three times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.

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