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Did you know that 29 September is World Heart Day?
Well it is and the event came around in 2012 when world leaders together with the World Heart Federation committed to reducing global mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by 25% by 2025.
The World Heart Federation says that cardio vascular diseases, including strokes and heart disease, are the world’s leading cause of death and claim around 17.5 million lives each year.
The thing is, not only does your heart power your whole body but it also lets you love, laugh and live life to the full, so World Heart Day is a good time to assess just how well you are treating it.
We have some easy to follow tips that will keep not only your heart, but your whole body fit and well.
One of the single best things you can do to keep your heart healthy, is to quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of a heart attack as well as heart disease and strokes but the good news is, the moment you quit, the risks are reduced. So, why is smoking so bad for your heart? Well, firstly it affects the vessels that supply blood to your heart, damages the blood vessel walls and reduces the amount of oxygen in your blood stream. On top of this, cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals including nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide which make your heart beat, and work faster while making it harder for you to breathe. Quitting isn’t easy, but it is the best thing you can do for your health.
Look at Your Diet
A balanced diet of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein and good fats can help maintain your weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. All of these contribute to well-being and a healthy heart. Reducing the amount of salt and sugar you eat is a good idea and replacing saturated and trans fats with unsaturated fats can help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Eating fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish, can help keep your heart healthy. Sardines, fresh tuna and salmon are all fantastic sources of healthy omega-3 fats, which can help protect against heart disease, so add them to the shopping list and enjoy with fresh veg and brown rice.
It might sound like we are be super-boring, but cutting down your alcohol intake can help your heart as well as your waist line. Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week and it is good idea to have alcohol free days each week.
Regular, moderate physical activity is great for your heart health and just 30 minutes of activity, five days a week can make a difference. Walking to the shops, cycling to work, jogging with a friend and taking a dance class will get your heart rate up and blood pumping around your body. Those feel good endorphins will also be flying around your body helping your mental health too. Also remember, if you work at a desk, get up and stretch your legs and ease your shoulders once an hour and even walking up and down the stairs will help breathe life back into your body.
It is believed that being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease, so keep an eye on the scales and how your jeans feel.
By combining all the lifestyle factors, we have talked about here, you should be able to find a comfortable weight, but if you are struggling, have a chat with your GP who will be able to help.