How to keep your heart healthy

When it comes to your health, there are a lot of things that can affect it. However, one of the most important areas of your body when it comes to health is your heart.

Without your heart, the whole machine breaks down, so it is important you take steps to look after this vital organ. Not only will this ensure your heart stays strong, it will also help the rest of your body remain in tip top condition.

Here are some things you can do to keep your heart healthy:

Stay active

Not only can regular exercise help you tone up, boost your mood and help you deal with stress, it is also important for your heart. You should ensure you exercise throughout the week, with at least a moderate 30-minute aerobic workout every day for five days.

This doesn’t mean you have to start camping out at the gym, as you can easily slot your exercise into your schedule. Things like cycling or walking to work can help keep your heart healthy, while a lunchtime swim is a great way to refresh you and get your heart rate up.

Eat well

When it comes to food, there are a number of ways you can look after your heart. For starters, you should ensure you get at least five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. If you can get more, you definitely should. This will give you more fibre and make sure you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.

It is a good idea to also eat more fish as oily fish – like salmon and mackerel – contain high levels of omega-3 fats, which are important for protecting against heart disease. Ideally, you should eat oily fish at least twice a week – if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you shouldn’t exceed this – in order to get the most out of it.

Cut out bad foods

You should also cut down on saturated fats, which increase cholesterol levels in your blood. Higher cholesterol means you’re at a greater risk of heart disease, which is a common cause of death.

As well as cutting down on saturated fat, it is also important to reduce your salt intake. Too much salt in your diet will increase your blood pressure, which is bad for heart health. Try adding less salt to your food when cooking and eating, as well as keeping an eye on salt levels in pre-prepared food like ready meals.

Kick the habit

One of the best ways to improve the health of your heart is to give up smoking. This habit is one of the main causes of heart disease, with the risk of developing it getting higher the longer that you smoke.

Quitting for just a year can reduce the risk of heart disease by around half, so it really is worth kicking the habit.

Get more fibre

You should be eating at least 30g of fibre a day in order to improve heart health. You can get fibre from a lot of different sources so it’s easy to maintain an interesting and varied diet while getting enough of this key supplement. Fibre is in wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread, oats, fruit and vegetables, so make sure you get more of these in your diet.

Cut out alcohol

There’s a reason that we are told to stick to guidelines when it comes to alcohol. Too much drinking can have a negative impact on your health as well as your waistline, so it is a good idea to reduce your intake or cut it out altogether. Not only will this help you lose or maintain your weight, it will also keep your heart and other areas healthy.