Tips for a healthy heart

It’s National Heart Week, so we decided to get the week off to a flying start with some tips on how to keep that vital organ purring.

Be a smoke-free zone
Smoking doubles your risk of a heart attack compared with a non-smoker, increases the likelihood of an angina attack 20 times higher, makes peripheral arterial disease five times more likely and triples the chance of a stroke, according to the Heart Foundation. On the bright side, just one year after quitting, the risk of a stroke will have halved, so no more butts. Quit smoking.

Choose chocolate wisely
When it comes to chocolate and health, the darker the better. Not only is it a great source of antioxidants and nutrients, but according to Health Line, it’s also known to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and may even reduce the risk of heart disease.

Stay social
According to the Heart Foundation, people who are socially isolated, have depression or poor social support networks have a greater risk of heart disease.

Eat heart-friendly foods
Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, legumes, nuts and oily fish including salmon, tuna and sardines can lower the chance of heart disease. A well-balanced diet that avoids foods high in fat and salt will help keep your heart happy.

Put down that drink
Alcohol can increase your blood pressure and harm your heart muscles, leading to cardiomyopathy. It’s recommended that men limit themselves to two glasses of alcohol a day and women to just one – but not every day.

Check for diabetes
A test for diabetes could be one of the best things to do for your heart in order to avoid a stroke or heart attack. Unmanaged diabetes may contribute to heart disease and weaken artery walls, so the earlier a diagnosis and treatment is sought the better.

Say no to salt
In short, the higher your salt intake the higher your blood pressure is likely to be and the greater the strain on your heart and arteries. Avoid too many salty foods.

Exercise
Exercise offers huge benefits for your heart. According to Edward-Elmhurst Health, exercise helps to lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure and flow and decrease your chance of a stroke or heart disease. It’s time to get moving.

What do you do to keep your heart healthy and happy? Let us know in the comment section below.

Written by Liv Gardiner

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