Here are 10 things you can do to look after your heart…
Give up smoking
If you’re a smoker, quit. It’s the single best thing you can do for your heart health.
Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.
Getting – and staying – active can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress buster.
One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on 5 days a week. Fit it in where you can, such as by cycling to work.
Manage your weight
Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity.
Eat more fibre
Eat plenty of fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease – aim for at least 30g a day.
Eat food such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and veg.
Cut down on saturated fat
Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases your risk of heart disease.
Choose leaner cuts of meat and lower fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat (or whole) milk.
Get your 5 A Day
Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They’re a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
There are lots of tasty ways to get your 5 A Day, like adding chopped fruit to cereal or including vegetables in your pasta sauces and curries.
Cut down on salt
To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking.
Once you get used to the taste of food without added salt, you can cut it out completely.
Watch out for high salt levels in ready-made foods. Most of the salt we eat is already in the foods we buy.
Check the food labels – a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g.
Adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day in total – that’s about 1 teaspoon.
Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as pilchards, sardines and salmon are a source of omega-3 fats, which may help protect against heart disease.
Drink less alcohol
Do not forget that alcohol contains calories. Keeping to the recommended daily limits will help to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.
Read the food label
When shopping, it’s a good idea to look at the label on food and drink packaging to see how many calories and how much fat, salt and sugar the product contains.
Understanding what’s in food and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices.