It’s never too late to take steps to improve heart health and with World Heart Day on 29th September, there’s no better time to start thinking about your wellbeing. Looking for simple suggestions that are easy to incorporate into your daily routine? You’ve come to the right place…
1. Fat – the facts:
There really is no substitute for a good healthy diet and it’s important to think about the type of fat you’re eating. Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats has been shown to lower blood cholesterol. Instead of reaching for that hidden stash of chocolate when you hit that mid-afternoon slump, swap for a handful of delicious walnuts which are a rich source of unsaturated fats – specifically the essential omega-3 (ALA). For something a bit different, try these quick and easy (not to mention moreish) Smoky Rosemary and Chilli Walnuts.
2. Eat a rainbow:
Variety is important, as different coloured fruits and vegetables contain their own unique combination of nutrients. To get the most benefit, try to eat one portion from each colour group. Choose from red, green, yellow, white, purple and orange varieties of fruits and vegetables.
3. Get moving:
We all know that physical activity is good for us, but the recommended 150 minutes a week can be daunting, especially when Netflix is just a remote control away…Try breaking it into smaller sessions throughout the day. For example, take the stairs instead of escalators or walk to the corner shop rather than drive. Every ten minutes counts!
4. Laugh out loud
And no – we don’t mean writing LOL in a WhatsApp. According to the American Heart Association, laughter can decrease stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation and increase HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Now that’s a good reason to laugh with your family and friends every day.
5. Halt the salt
On average in the UK, we eat more than the recommended maximum of 6g a day. Cutting back on salt is important to help avoid high blood pressure. But that doesn’t mean your food has to be bland – experiment with different herbs and spices or citrus instead. If you’re stuck for ideas, the British Heart Foundation offers inspiration here.