A healthy diet and lifestyle can go a long way when it comes to our heart health.
Some of the best ways to look after your heart include eating a Mediterranean-style diet, hydrating with water, avoiding smoking, and getting some regular exercise. The good news is it's never too late to start making changes, but for many of us, that's easier said than done.
In this blog post, we share simple and small lifestyle tweaks that can make a big difference to your overall heart health. Discover how to have a healthy heart!
Eat a Mediterranean-Style Diet
Eating like the Spanish and Italians can do a lot of good for our hearts. The Mediterranean way of eating is built around plant-based foods. It's rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and pulses with moderate amounts of lean meat, oily fish, and dairy.
There's strong scientific evidence to suggest that a Mediterranean-style diet can help to lower our risk of heart disease and strokes.
Snack on Nuts
Consuming a handful of nuts several times a week has also been shown to reduce our risk of heart disease. Nuts can help to lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol levels, which have been associated with heart disease.
Remember to choose unsalted nuts, as too much salt in the diet can raise blood pressure. A portion of nuts is one ounce (30g), which is equivalent to a small, cupped handful.
Avoiding smoking is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart disease. Nearly 20,000 heart and circulatory deaths in the UK are linked to smoking each year.
The good news is it's never too late to quit smoking - experts say that you can experience improvements in breathing in as little as 2-12 weeks after quitting. There's plenty of support available if you're ready to stop smoking.
Most of us know that getting some regular exercise is good for our heart health. It's recommended that we try to do some exercise for 30 minutes per day at least five days per week.
This doesn't mean you need to pound away on a treadmill. From walking to cycling to dancing, there are so many options available. The most important thing is to find a form of exercise that you enjoy and can keep up in the long-term.
Cut Down on Booze
Drinking too much alcohol in the long-run has been linked with an increased risk of heart disease. In fact, some scientists go as far as saying there's no healthy level of alcohol intake.
Like everything, it's all about moderation. Remember to try to stick to the recommended drinking guidelines - no more than 14 units of alcohol per week with several alcohol-free days.
14 units of alcohol are equivalent to:
- 6 pints of beer
- 9 small (125ml) glasses of wine
- 14 shots of spirits
- 6 large (175ml) glasses of wine
Drink More Water
If you're trying to cut down on booze or you're trying to lose weight, water is the perfect solution for heart-healthy hydration. It's sugar-free, fat-free, and calorie-free! We should all be aiming to drink at least two litres of water per day. Don't forget to carry a refillable water bottle with you when you're out and about to help cut down on single-use plastic.
Using a ceramic water filter system helps to reduce common contaminants from drinking water, improving the taste and odour. Learn more about the health benefits of drinking filtered water here.