World Heart Day

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Ten tips to keep your heart healthy

Follow these healthy lifestyle tips for you and your family.

Stop smoking

If you smoke, stopping is the most important thing you can do to have a healthy heart, and live longer. Smoking is one of the main causes of heart disease. If you are a smoker you are twice as likely to have a heart attack as a non-smoker. Ask your doctor for advice or visit the NHS Smokefree website to sign up for free support to stop smoking.

Cut down on salt

Keep on eye on how much salt you and your family are eating. Too much salt can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of developing heart disease. There is lots of salt in food like tinned baked beans, crisps, tinned and packet soup, pizzas and ready meals.

Have a healthy weight

If you are overweight this may contribute to the risk of heart disease. Make sure you and your family have a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables.

Eat your 5-a-day

Most of what you eat every day should be fruit and vegetables. At a minimum you should eat five portions a day but the more the better. There are lots of ways of eating more vegetables. Try adding chopped fruit to cereal or porridge in the morning, putting more vegetables into curries or stews, or cutting out meat completely for one or more days a week.

Don't drink too much alcohol

Cut down on alcohol to help manage your weight, keep blood pressure down, and maintain a healthy heart. You should try and keep your alcohol intake to no more than one or two units a day.

Keep active

Exercise is really important for a healthy heart. The heart is a muscle and it needs exercise to pump blood around your body. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.

Ask your GP to check your blood pressure and cholesterol levels

If you have high blood pressure you have a higher risk of a heart attack. You can help to lower your cholesterol level by exercising and eating high-fibre food like oats, fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, lentils.

Tackle stress levels

Stress raises blood pressure, heart rate, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. If you are stressed you are more likely to overeat, smoke and drink too much. Consider ways of reducing stress at work or within the family.

Eat more fish and less red meat

Fish, in particular oily fish like sardines, herrings and mackerel, contains Omega-3 fats, which are really good for your heart.

Support World Heart Day

Tuesday 29 September is World Heart Day. This is a chance for people across the globe to find out more about keeping our hearts healthy. There are many ways to get involved, from planning your own World Heart Day event to sharing your Healthy Heart Selfies on the World Heart Day Twitter and Facebook pages.

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