Love is in the air…
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, how can you keep your heart healthy? Here are our top 10 Physio4Me heart health tips
Give up smoking
Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. So, if you’re a smoker, quit…now!
The good news is that as a smoker, after only a year of quitting your risk of a heart attack decreases by around 50%. There are lots of helpful services out there like My City Health and NHS stop smoking services .
Being active has been shown to greatly reduce your risk of developing heart disease. We advise around 3 hours of activity per week.
This doesn’t need to be high intensity, Usain Bolt speed running. Just walking the last mile of your commute a few days a week or carrying the shopping back home instead of catching the bus all contributes to achieving your weekly activity goal.
Get your 7 (yes 7!) A Day
The NHS recommends 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, however here at Physio4Me we would encourage you to challenge yourself to hit 7 portions!
Making up these 7 portions with a variety of different fruit and vegetables is best.
Look after your mental health
Studies have shown that people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have good social support are at a higher risk of heart disease. Whilst there is certainly no “fix-all” having a good social life with family and friends can help.
Eat more fibre
Eating fibre can help to lower your risk of heart disease. We recommend at least 30g of fibre a day.
Wholemeal bread, oats, wholegrain cereals, fruit and veg all contain good levels of healthy fibre.
Replace unhealthy fats with healthy ones
Saturated fat can raise levels of bad cholesterol in your blood. In turn this can increase your risk of heart disease.
Eating leaner cuts of meat or lower fat dairy products are both good ways of ensuring you aren’t eating too much saturated fat.
Omega 3 is a great “good” fat, which actually works to protect the heart against disease.
At Physio4Me we recommend you eat fish at least twice a week, and try to include oily fish such as sardines or salmon. An exception to this is if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not have more than 2 portions of oily fish a week.
Manage your weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a healthy balanced and varied diet combined with regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.
Reduce your salt intake
Too much salt can result in your blood pressure creeping up, this can increase your risk of heart disease.
Watch out for high levels of salt in pre-prepared foods such as pasta sauces or ready meals and don’t add too much salt to your cooking.
If something has more than 1.5g of salt or 0.6g of sodium per 100g this too high. An adult should aim to consume less than 6g of salt per day.
Drink less alcohol
Whilst we don’t want to be the party pooper, alcohol contains a shockingly large number of calories. One large glass of wine has the same number of calories as an ice cream Sunday and 2 small bottles of beer the same calories as a large Sirloin Steak! You wouldn’t finish your week off by eating 4 ice cream Sundays or 3 steaks without thinking something should perhaps change.
Drinkaware has created a great alcohol/food comparison here.
Amongst other positive impacts on your heart health controlling your alcohol consumption is a good way to make sure that your waistline isn’t creeping up.
If you have Diabetes that is uncontrolled, you are at an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Manage your Diabetes by eating well, keeping active, staying on top of your medication timetable, controlling stress and having regular check ups with your doctor and health care team.