Looking after your heart

Whatever your age, keeping your heart healthy is the most important thing you can do to help prevent and manage heart disease.  More information is available on the British Heart Foundation website:  www.bhf.org.uk.

Hints and tips for a healthy heart:

  • Get moving. Do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity every week.
  • Give up smoking. 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.
  • Manage your weight. Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a well-balanced diet low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables, combined with plenty of physical activity.
  • Drop the salt. To maintain a healthy blood pressure, stop using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking, or cut it out completely. A food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt per 100g.
  • Get your five a day. Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
  • Eat oily fish. Eat oily fish twice a week. Fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon are an excellent source of omega 3 fats, which can help to protect against heart disease.
  • Walk off stress. If you are feeling under pressure, clear your mind with a walk. If it’s a brisk walk it will also count towards your daily activity.
  • Cut saturated fat. Choose semi-skimmed over full-fat milk, leaner cuts of meat and steam or grill foods rather than frying.
  • Drink less. Alcohol can be fattening. If you added three or four gin and tonics to your usual daily diet, you could put on nearly 2kg over four weeks.
  • Read the food label. When shopping, look at the label on food packets to see what the product contains.