One of the UK’s biggest killers is heart and circulatory diseases. Here are 10 things you can do to keep your heart in great shape.
1. Cut Back on Alcohol
Abnormal heart rhythms, damage to the heart muscle and high blood pressure are caused by alcohol which affect your heart. You don’t have to give it up completely. You just have to stick to current guidelines which are two to three units a day for women and three to four for men.
2. Cut Down on Salt
Diet high in salt could possibly make your blood pressure high which could increase risk of suffering from heart disease or stroke. The recommended intake of salt for adults is 6g and for children is 3g. You should keep a check of salt content in processed foods.
3. Eat Less Sugar
Diabetes and heart disease can be caused by too much sugar in your diet which could also lead to weight gain and raise in blood pressure. Instead of sweetened puddings and cakes you should have fresh fruit with yoghurt if you can’t give up sugar altogether.
4. Fill Up On Fruit and Veg
By eating at least five portions of fruit and veg a day you should increase the amount of potassium in your diet. Your heart will stay healthy as fruit and veg have fibre, minerals, nutrients and vitamins. You can lower your cholesterol by having fruits and veg that are rich in soluble fibre including aubergine, citrus fruits, mango, most beans and pulses and sweet potato.
5. Get More Exercise
People who aren’t very active are more likely to have a heart attack. To lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week. You can split up the 150 minutes any way you like like having a walk of 30 minutes every lunchtime during the week.
6. Go For More Fish
Oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fresh tuna, mackerel, pilchards, salmon and sardines which can be beneficial for your heart as they improve cholesterol levels. For vegetarians, omega-3 fats can be obtained from canola and soya oil, flaxseed and flaxseed oil, pumpkin seeds, spinach, walnuts and wheat germ.
7. Keep Stress Under Control
You may drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol, take little or no exercise and start smoking if you are under a lot of stress which can all lead to heart problems.
8. Keep Your Weight Down
If you are heavier than you may be at the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes. Eating less sugar and saturated fat and more fruit can help lose excess pounds.
9. Limit Saturated Fat
Cholesterol levels can be increased by eating saturated fat found in butter, dairy fats, fatty meats, ghee, margarine and processed foods like cakes, pastries and pies. Instead of full-fat dairy foods use low-fat ones and semi-skimmed milk.
10. Quit Smoking
One of the main causes of cardiovascular disease is smoking. It not only reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood and raises your blood pressure but also damages the lining of your arteries.