4 tips to love your heart
Looking after our heart is important so we have 4 tips on how you can love yours.
1. Stay physically active
The World Health Organisation (WHO) says we all should do between 2.5 and 5 hours of physical activity that raises your heart beat or breaks a sweat every week, or at least 1.25 or 2.5 hours of more intense activity that makes you breath hard and fast. And WHO says people should do muscle strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week.
2. Eat healthy food
Aim to eat healthy food that is:
- low in saturated fat, filled with high-fibre foods such as wholegrain or wholemeal cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta and rice, fruit and vegetables,
- includes moderate amounts of reduced fat or low-fat milk and dairy products.
- has some meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts. Make sure to include oily fish once a week and limit processed meats like sausages, bacon or ham.
- Avoid foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt (not every day). They are not needed for good health.
3. Cut back on salt
Having 6g or less of salt day can help lower your blood pressure, meaning your heart doesn't have to work overtime. A lot of the salt we eat is already added to processed foods and sauces so try to cut down on those. You know foods are low in salt if the label says it contains “less than or equal to 0.3g salt per 100g”. Foods are high in salt if the label says “greater than or equal to 1.5g salt per 100g”.
Cutting back on salt doesn't mean losing out on flavour. Check out this blog on healthy flavour boosters.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, including heart attack and stroke. By not smoking or quitting now, you can protect your heart, lungs and blood vessels from damage. The good news is that there is great support from the HSE to help you quit. Get in touch with the National Smokers’ Quitline on 1800 201 203 or visit www.quit.ie.
If you have any concerns about your heart health, please always visit your GP.
Cardiovascular or heart disease is when your arteries begin to develop fatty plaques which reduce the amount of blood that can get through – this can lead to the development of a blood clot, heart attack or stroke. Heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death on the island of Ireland and worldwide so it's really important we do what we can to protect our hearts and keep them strong and healthy.