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Thursday October 1, 2015

Spring

into

A healthy heart

The new season

It’s up to you to take care of this vital organ A broken heart can heal, but a damaged/ diseased heart may not. One organ we really can not do without is our heart, so it’s imperative that we look after it. There is plenty of advice available on what makes for a healthy heart, but there are some very important factors that are proven to help to keep the heart healthy. Many of these are not only health related, but lifestyle related too. Think of it as a lifestyle change rather than dieting because by living and eating in a healthier way you will feel better, more energised, more confident and happier.

Eat less salt: Eating too much salt has been linked to high blood pressure. A recommended level is 6g a day. Put less in cooking and try not to add any salt at the table. Exercise: Regular exercise improves heart function and lowers your blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise every day is recommended.

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Reduce fat: A certain amount of fat is good for a well balanced diet but reduce the amount of fat and the type of fat you eat. Saturated fat affects blood cholesterol levels, so try to eat less full-fat dairy products, cakes, cookies, pastries and burgers and replace with monosaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado. Polyunsaturated fats in small amounts help reduce cholesterol so oily fish (salmon, sardines) and oils like sunflower, corn and soya oil are good.

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Keep weight down: Too many calories, fatty foods and being overweight is really bad for you. It puts extra stresses and strain on your heart, makes you feel lethargic and de-energised. Try eating more fruit and vegetables, less sugary foods, eat more unrefined carbohydrates such as seed breads, wholegrain cereals and pasta. So-called soluble fiber may also help reduce cholesterol so eat oats, beans and pulses such as kidney beans, peas and baked beans. Stop smoking: Although it’s down as step five, quitting smoking is one of the most important things you can do. It dramatically cuts your chances of getting heart and respiratory diseases, cancer and emphysema. If you have already had a heart attack quitting will reduce the risk of a second one.

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