Looking after the health of your heart is fundamental to enjoying a long, active and healthy life. As the New Year gets underway, we here at Broadgate Clinic Wall have 10 top tips that can improve the health of your heart in 2016, and, if you adopt these tips permanently, improve the prognosis for a fitter and longer life.
If you are a smoker, quitting is by far the best thing you can do to improve your heart health. Despite widespread advertising to inform people about the dangers of smoking tobacco, approximately 10 million adults (that’s about one-sixth of the UK population) still smoke.
Smoking is one of the prime causes of coronary disease. Stopping smoking saves and prolongs lives. Did you know that only one year after giving-up smoking that your risk of having a heart attack falls to less than half of that of a smoker?
Quitting is not easy but the benefits are enormous. To give yourself the best chance of successfully quitting there are plenty of aids you can employ such as nicotine patches.
Become more physically active
Becoming more physically active will reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It only requires about 30 minutes per day, for five days per week, of moderate, aerobic type activity, (walking cycling, swimming and/or jogging) to increase your physical activity and your levels of fitness.
If you are overweight for your height and age, you are increasing your risk of heart disease. All you need to do to control your weight is to adopt a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and that is low in fat and sugar. Check your weight to see how healthy it is with a BMI calculator.
Add more fibre to your diet
A healthy portion of fibre per day will improve your heart health. Aim for 30g per day. You can get fibre from natural food products such as bran, oats, wholemeal bread and cereals, potato skins and certain fruits and vegetables.
Reduce saturated fat from your diet
If your normal diet is too high in foods containing saturated fats, this may lead to a rise of cholesterol. This will lead to your arteries becoming clogged, making your heart work harder to pump blood and leading to possible early stage heart disease. Change your diet to include leaner cuts of meat and poultry, eat more fish and use skimmed or semi-slimmed milk.
Minimise the amount of salt in your diet
Too much salt in your diet will increase your blood pressure, heightening the risk of heart attack. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt per day (equivalent to one level teaspoonful). Scrutinise the salt levels in any processed foods that you buy, and cut down on the amount of salt you add to cooking.
Eat your 5 per day
You should look to always eat a minimum of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. These are great sources of fibre, minerals and vitamins. Adding them to cereal, pasta sauces and curries are tasty ways of ensuring you get your 5 per day.
Eat fish twice a week minimum
Try to ensure that at least one of the two (or more) portions of the fish you eat is oily fish – fresh fish like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna – these are all high in Omega 3 and 6, good fatty acids which help to guard against heart disease. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should not eat more than 2 portions of fish per week.
Minimise alcohol consumption
As well as being bad for your liver, drinking too much alcohol can lead to increased blood pressure, the risk of stroke and heart disease. Keeping within the recommended daily allowances will promote good health and help you to manage your weight too.
Scrutinise processed food labels
Processed foods can contain an alarmingly high level of salt as well as high levels of fat and sugar. Make sure you read and understand the label before you buy.
Check out your heart health at Broadgate Clinic London Wall
If you are concerned about heart health and you would like to talk to a trained doctor for diet and lifestyle advice, you can use the private, walk-in services (including the well-men and well-women clinics) we operate here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall
Our opening hours are:
Monday to Thursday 08:00 to 18:30
Fridays 08:00 to 17:30