How to look after your heart

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Looking after your heart is easy.  It's about introducing some heart-healthy lifestyle habits to reduce your risk of heart disease.  

Coronary heart disease is the UK’s single biggest killer, so making a few positive lifestyle changes is good news for your health and your heart.  Stopping smoking, keeping your blood pressure in check, being more active, eating your 5-a-day while being mindful of your salt and sugar intake have all been shown to reduce your risk of developing heart disease. So the question is, where to start?

Be more active: increasing how active you are will help you to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check and keep your weight under control.  What’s more, exercise releases those ‘feel good’ hormones in your brain, helping you to feel great so what’s not to like?

If exercises doesn’t currently appeal to you, simply start adding more activity to your normal day and build up from there.  Take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to the shops, take a 15 minute walk every day and get stuck in with the housework.  As long as your activity raises your heart rate, it counts towards your activity target.  Keep upping your activity levels over time by increasing the intensity and duration.  Our video below, offers more practical advice.

Eat more healthily and help to lose any extra weight: healthy eating isn’t just about calorie intake, it’s about looking at the types of food and ingredients that you are consuming too.  Make simple steps such as swapping the type of fats you use when preparing food, get your five-a-day fruit and veg by adding veg (including frozen) to dishes and drinking the odd glass on unsweetened fruit juice. 

You can use our heart healthy recipes section to find filling and nutritious ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Perhaps you could learn to cook one new healthy recipe each week. Enjoy the empowerment of cooking from scratch (to avoid hidden salts and sugars in processed foods) and regain control of your diet.

Cut back on the booze: get familiar with your units and commit to two or more consecutive alcohol free days each week and don’t exceed the recommended daily or weekly unit intakes.

Stop smoking: watch our video, a smoke-free heart, and set your date for going smoke free.  It really is that important to your heart.

Sign-up to our weekly Healthy Tip email newsletter to receive topical tips and advice to help you look after your heart.  If you are an employer, find out how you could be helping hearts at work.  

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