Your heart will beat approximately 2.21bn times in your lifetime. It pumps around 5 litres of blood around your body, allowing oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your cells and waste products to be removed.
That’s pretty amazing if you ask us – so as it is February, we’re encouraging you to be kind to your heart.
Here are 10 top tips to improve your heart health.
- STOP SMOKING. It’s the single biggest thing you can do to show your heart some love. The chemicals in cigarettes make your blood thicker and more likely to clot. It also makes your heart beat faster which raises your blood pressure & tightens your blood vessels.
- GET ACTIVE. Exercise widens your blood vessels so your blood flows better. As a muscle, your heart gets stronger when you exercise and starts to use oxygen more efficiently.
- DRINK LESS ALCOHOL. Drinking too much alcohol damages your heart muscle, can lead to arrhythmias and increase your blood pressure. Do not regularly drink more than 14 units a week, and try to spread this over a number of days. It is important to have several drink-free days each week too!
- EAT FRUIT & VEG. Try to eat the recommended 5 portions of fruit & veg every day as this is a great way to get the fibre, vitamins & minerals your body needs. Fruits like berries are also full of antioxidants to help clean your blood.
- MANAGE YOUR WEIGHT. Carrying too much weight can lead to a number of health problems including high cholesterol and atherosclerosis (which happens when your arteries get clogged with fatty deposits). Atherosclerosis can lead to coronary heart disease and stroke. To keep your heart healthy, stick to a balanced diet & make sure you exercise. Ask a Lifestyle Consultant to help you find your BMI & develop a programme to keep your weight in check.
- EAT FIBRE. Fibre protects your heart from heart disease by stabilising your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). Aim for at least 30g of fibre every day from a variety of sources.
- USE LESS SALT. If you have too much salt in your diet, you are likely to have high blood pressure, which in turn increases your chance of developing coronary heart disease. Aim for less than 6g of salt a day – be sure to check the labels on ready-made food.
- EAT FISH. The Omega-3 fatty acids found in mackerel, sardines, salmon & fresh tuna may reduce blood pressure, reduce blood clotting, improve irregular heartbeats and decrease triglycerides – all of which help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Omega-3 can also be found in seeds & nuts too!
- EAT LESS SATURATED FAT. Saturated fats can raise your cholesterol, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease. On average, men should not eat more than 30g of saturated fat daily, and women no more than 20g.
- READ FOOD LABELS. Food labels show you the calories, fat, salt & sugar in a product. Use this information to form the basis of your healthy diet.
Remember, our Lifestyle Consultants and nutrition expert are always happy to help guide you towards a healthier lifestyle. Visit reception to book your personal consultation.
Our resident nutrition expert Marko Humphrey is available to help you discover the optimum food intake to make your goals easier to reach. Whether you are training for a sporting event, managing a medical condition or trying to lose weight, all of our nutrition advice is tailored to your needs and situation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how we can help you.