Heart disease is one of the UK’s biggest killers. In a time where being healthy has never been more important, paying attention to your heart health and other areas can help you support your body and overall health and well-being.
Reduce salt intake
A high-salt diet may cause high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Salt intake is limited to 6g for adults and 3g for children (2.5g of salt is the equivalent of 1g of sodium). Reduce salt intake by avoiding it at the table and reducing it in the kitchen. Also, read food labels to see how much salt is in processed foods (foods with more than 1.5g salt or 0.6g sodium per 100g are high, so avoid them wherever possible).
Switch to a plant-based diet
It is recommended that everyone has a plant-based diet to help with heart health. A plant-based diet benefits not only lowers your risk of heart disease but also provides other health benefits. A plant-based diet is a diet that includes only plant-derived foods. A plant-based diet usually consists of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
A plant-based diet is typically high in fibre, antioxidants, unsaturated fatty acids, and phytochemicals which are linked to lower rates of cardiovascular disease.
Plant-based diets help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and hypertension. Studies show that plant-based diets can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Plant-based diets are associated with lower rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and overall mortality.
A healthy, varied, plant-based diet is also good for your gut health because the fibre in plants helps feed healthy bacteria in your gut.
If you are significantly overweight, more than you should be, you have an increased chance of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. In addition to consuming less sugar and saturated fat while limiting alcohol intake, increasing your intake of fresh produce and increasing your physical activity can all assist you in losing excess weight – and keeping it off in the long run. Losing weight means your heart doesn’t need to work as hard and thus reduces strain.
Raising your heart rate regularly by staying active is a great way to boost your heart health. Thirty minutes of mild to moderate exercise 5 days a week is sufficient or 150 minutes over a week. This can be any exercise as long as it makes you out of breath (even just a little) and raises your heart rate. The Google Fit App has a handy “heart-healthy” tool to award you points for an activity for smartphone users. The more intense the activity levels, the more points you get. It is best if you aim for a minimum of 150 points per week.
Take aspirin if advised by your GP
If you are susceptible to heart problems genetically or are prone to blood clots, your GP may advise that you take aspirin daily to reduce your risk of serious complications. You can choose to purchase over-the-counter aspirin such as cartia aspirin or get aspirin on prescription.
Studies have shown that people who meditate for 15 minutes per day can cut their risk of strokes and heart disease by half compared to those who don’t.
This is believed to be due to the fact that meditation has been shown to lower blood pressure, which is a key risk factor for CVD. According to the findings of the most recent study, conducted by scientists at the University of Iowa, practising meditation for just 20 minutes each day was sufficient to make a difference. Both deep breathing exercises and yoga breathing techniques are thought to be beneficial in the same way.