Heart health tips
Eating a balanced healthy diet can help keep your weight down. This helps avoid too much pressure on the heart having to pump blood around an increased volume of body leading to high blood pressure. Being overweight and excess salt are both big lifestyle factors that add to your risk of cardiovascular disease.
It is important to ensure you eat fish twice a week, one of which should be oily, as it contains omega 3 essential fatty acids EPA and DHA proven to support heart health. Eat plenty of wholegrain bread, brown rice and wholewheat pasta with each meal as well as fruit and vegetables. Limit your consumption of salt, grill food, steam or fry with monounsaturated oils such as olive oil and if you eat meat, opt for leaner ‘white meat’ such as chicken.
A sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and put you at risk of being overweight. To gain the health benefits of exercise you need to be physically active for at least 30 minutes five days a week. You don’t have to do it all in one go, but it does need to be strenuous enough to make you mildly breathless. A really brisk 15 minute walk to work in the morning and back in the afternoon counts as 30 minutes.
Moderate physical activity (brisk walk, swimming, cycling) gives additional health benefits. Emerging research also suggests that vigorous activity can help even more to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Stopping smoking can be the greatest step in reducing the risk of heart disease. Smoking regularly doubles the chance of cardiovascular disease due to the harmful chemicals in the tobacco. These chemicals damage the heart arteries as well as additional parts of the body.
Although your health risk is significantly reduced when you quit it takes a few years to totally get rid of the increased risk of heart disease caused by smoking. If you need help to quit don’t hesitate to see pharmacist, practice nurse or GP for a range of support and possible treatments.