Tips for a Healthy Heart

CardiologyYour heart is one of the most vital organs in your entire body. It keeps the blood pumping around your body to all of your extremities and most importantly, your brain. If your heart gets just a little bit out of synch, that could have disastrous consequences for the rest of your body. Equally, if your arteries and veins become blocked or clogged with fat, they cannot do their job of delivering blood properly. So what can you do to protect your heart? Read some of our healthy heart tips below.

Work Your Body

Working your body makes your heart work, helping to prevent heart disease and blocked arteries. Exercise also reduces your risk of being overweight, which in turn, helps to prevent heart disease. Aim to get half an hour’s worth of moderate level exercise five days a week for the best results.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is terrible for your health – we all know that. But we tend to think that smoking is bad for our lungs, rather than our heart. Smoking is in fact one of the major causes of coronary heart disease, which is preventable. Give up smoking and a year with no cigarettes means that your heart disease risk falls to that of half a smoker’s risk.

Use Less Salt

Using less salt at the dinner table means that both your blood pressure and cholesterol levels can be kept under control. Don’t put salt on the table as it will encourage you to use more than you need, but if you absolutely need the flavour, use a low-sodium or no-sodium variety. Salt at the table isn’t your only worry – keep your eye on food labels and steer clear of processed or packaged foods that contain high levels of salt.

Maintain Your Weight

No-one is saying that you need to lose a lot of weight. But the best way to keep your heart healthy is to maintain a weight that is within a healthy range for you. Yo-yo dieting is worse for you than being slightly overweight as repeated strain is put on the heart, so work hard to maintain your current weight. If you are unsure of what weight you should be, ask your doctor to go through BMI values with you. Your BMI should usually be between 20-25 depending on your age and sex.

Get Five a Day

There is a reason that doctors recommend that you get five portions fruit and vegetables per day – because it’s brilliant for your health. Two of those portions should be fruit and three of those portions should be vegetables. Have fruit with breakfast or as a snack in the middle of the day, and add extra portions of vegetables to your curries and pasta sauces. Chop them up finely if you’re not a big fan of them and they will practically melt into the food.

Eat Oily Fish or Take Omega-3 Capsules

Oily fish contains something called omega-3. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid that works to prevent heart disease. But we don’t naturally have omega-3 in our bodies, so we have to find it from our diet. The best way to take in omega-3 is by eating oily fish twice a week, but if you’re not a fish eater or you are a vegetarian, take omega-3 capsules instead. Speak to your doctor for the correct dosage of the capsules.

Look After Yourself

There’s no point in following all of the tips above if you neglect your mental health. If you’re feeling unhappy or stressed, you’ll be putting strain on your heart that increases your risk of heart disease. Aim to de-stress and relax for at least an hour at the end of every day and you should dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease.