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The Heart of the Matter
NATIONAL HEART MONTH
There are approximately 2.6 million people in the UK living with coronary heart disease (CHD). Since every one of us has a heart... every one of us is at potential risk.
We all know that the main ways to help keep our heart healthy are through a balanced diet, plenty of exercise, not smoking and limiting alcohol intake.
Prevention is better than cure, so why not make it your goal in 2015 to improve your lifestyle and focus on your health.
Start a Healthier Diet – A healthy diet reduces the risk of developing coronary heart disease and preventing weight gain, which puts pressure on the heart, as well as reducing your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. It can help to lower cholesterol levels and reduce some cancer risks.
The introduction of a healthy diet can help to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease.
Try eating at least two portions of fish each week. One should be oily such as mackerel, salmon, trout.
Try to eat five portions of fruit or veg each day (a portion size being roughly the size of your clenched fist).
Try to reduce salt intake. Adults should not be consuming any more than 6mg/ 1 teaspoon of salt per day. Try using herbs to season food instead of salt, add less salt when cooking and remove salt from the dining room table – so it is less tempting.
Reduce Alcohol consumption – Alcohol can also be high in calories, so it helps pile on the weight and causes damage to the heart muscle.
The recommended alcohol units per day are:
For Women: 3-4 units. For Men: 4-5 units.
If you choose to drink more than the recommended limits, it can have an adverse reaction on your heart. It has the potential to cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure, damage to the heart muscle, diseases including stroke, liver problems and cancers.
Increase Physical Activity – We all know that daily physical activity helps us to stay healthy. However, research statistics still indicate that 7 out of 10 adults are still not doing enough physical activity. This therefore increases the chance of heart disease.
Quit Smoking – Smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers are.
Smoking harms your heart by damaging the lining
of your arteries, reducing the space for blood to pass through. The carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen that the blood can carry to your heart and body. Nicotine in cigarettes stimulates your body to produce adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster and raises blood pressure and results in your heart having to work harder - your blood is more likely to clot. All these things increase the risk of developing heart disease and having a heart attack or stroke.
The British Heart Foundation has more information about heart diseases and how to maintain a healthy heart.
For more information go to: www.bhf.org.uk
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