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1st Feb 2014
February is National Heart Month and organisations and charities like the British Heart Foundation are asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles.

British Heart Foundation logoCoronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer causing around 82,000 deaths a year and around one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease.

In the UK, there are an estimated 2.7m people living with the condition and 2m people affected by angina the most common symptom of coronary heart disease.

You can use February’s National Heart Month to really kick-start your own habits and introduce some exercise into your lifestyle so they don’t become a national statistic.

“Most people know someone or have themselves been directly affected by heart disease and the saddest part is a lot of times it is avoidable by changing lifestyle habits.”

“Simple changes in diet by reducing your salt intake and eliminating processed foods from your diet and to getting even 30 minutes exercise a day can make a huge difference.”

“A healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart, the introduction of a healthy diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily.”

To help prevent heart disease here's Top Ten Tips to change your lifestyle and take better care of your heart.

  1. Walk instead of driving when possible – just moderate walking gets your heart pumping and will help prevent heart disease. 
  2. Avoid processed foods - these tend to be packed with extra salt, fat and sugar and are not good for you! Try and avoid anything with a list of ingredients and eat whole foods!
  3. Cardio workouts – regular physical exercise has been proven to lower blood pressure and is great for the heart! You don't need to be running marathons just a 30 minute brisk walk to start with will help!
  4. Eat a Mediterranean diet – this traditionally includes fruits, vegetables and grains is lower in red meat and has healthy fats like olive oil. 
  5. Reduce salt – too much salt can lead to high blood pressure. 
  6. Limit red meat – this has saturated fats in which can lead to heart disease, make sure you know where your meat comes from. Buy local and buy organic where you can, yes this is more expensive but eat less but better quality and you benefit all round!
  7. Lose weight by joining a fitness class - find something you enjoy, if you weren't inspired by the gym last year look for something else to do there are lots of different types of exercise and sports you can do that will get your heart working!
  8. Drink less alcohol - drinking excessive amounts of alcohol causes raised blood pressure and if you are drinking too much you will be putting on weight which also increases your blood pressure! 
  9. Reduce Stress - stress contributes to heart disease so take steps to reduce the stress in your life.  Make sure you get plenty of sleep, make time to relax and do things that make you laugh, avoid people or situations that make you anxious or angry! 
  10. Maintain a healthy weight - being overweight increases your risk of heart disease.  If you need to lose some weight take steps to do so - set your self realistic targets and live healthier!

You can find out more about the British Heart Foundation

tel: 0845 130 8663  website: http://www.bhf.org.uk/get-involved/events.aspx 


 

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