Heart disease is a leading cause of death in the UK, but you can prevent it with some healthy lifestyle changes. Although some risk factors cannot be modified – such as age, sex, or family history – there are still many things you can do today to minimise your risk. But you will have to start today if you want to have better heart health. Here are ways to make your heart healthier:
1. Stop smoking
Quitting this habit is the best thing you can do for your heart and your body. Smoking causes coronary heart disease and various forms of cancer. Your risk of having a heart attack drops tremendously within a year after you stop smoking.
Being active can lower your risk of getting heart disease. Staying active is also an excellent way to boost your mood and reduce your stress.
Perform moderate aerobic activity for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. You can easily fit some of these activities into your schedule, like walking or cycling to work.
3. Maintain a healthy weight
Being overweight increases your risk of having heart disease. Determine your healthy weight using a healthy weight calculator. Make sure you have a balanced diet that is low in sugar and saturated fats. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables every day.
4. Minimise your alcohol intake
Alcohol has lots of calories and can easily increase your waistline. Make an effort to stay within the recommended alcohol limits to reduce your risk of serious health problems, including heart diseases.
5. Stay away from stress
Stress is known to be a risk factor for heart disease. It might be healthy to have some stress, but too much of it raises your blood pressure, elevates stress hormones, and triggers bad habits like overeating.
Deal with stress by exercising, eating healthily, spending time with friends and loved ones, and getting enough sleep.
6. Eat less salt
You can find salt everywhere – from your favourite crisps to canned soups. Most people consume more than twice the recommended intake of sodium every day. That extra salt causes the body to store more water, putting more pressure on the blood vessels and heart.
Eating too much salt increases blood pressure – a leading cause of heart disease. So before you even put that canned soup in your grocery cart, take the time to read food labels. Also, reduce your intake of processed and fast foods.
7. Get enough sleep
Sleeping allows the body to heal after a busy day. It also boosts the immune system and improves mood, but what you might not know is it’s also essential for maintaining a healthy heart.
Lack of quality sleep can contribute to high blood pressure. So if you’re having difficulty sleeping, it is best to speak to your doctor about it. You can also stick to a sleep-wake routine, reduce caffeine intake, and exercise regularly to help you sleep.
8. Eat more fibre
Fibre is an important dietary element that protects your heart. It scrapes out and gets rid of excess bad cholesterol and aids in the absorption of nutrients. It also reduces your chances of having diabetes, another contributor to heart disease.
9. Get yourself checked
Go to your general practitioner and have your blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked. Those with high blood pressure have a higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure also shortens your life expectancy.
High cholesterol levels can lead to coronary heart disease. Lower your cholesterol levels by eating fibre-rich foods like lentils, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
10. Eat enough fruits and vegetables
Incorporate at least five portions of different fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. They are rich in fibre, vitamins, and minerals and help reduce your risk of heart disease.
Follow these 10 tips and you’ll be on your way to a healthier heart and happier life.
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