NHS consultant cardiologist Kevin Fox reveals the seven best ways to keep our hearts in good shape.
1. Quit ‘lockdown’ bad habits
In the first year of the pandemic, sales of cigarettes rose by 7 per cent and tobacco by 36 per cent with 16 to 24-year-olds most likely to start puffing.
“The best thing you can do to keep your heart healthy is to stop smoking,” Kevin explains.
“If it is a habit you started in lockdown or one you went back to when we were all stuck at home, the best thing you can do is quit.
2. Cook from fresh
“Cooking at home using fresh ingredients is very good for you,” Kevin says.
“If you make your own spaghetti bolognese or vegetable soup, it is going to be a lot healthier than one you bought from a supermarket.
“It will contain less salt and less saturated fat.
3. Floss your teeth
“Evidence suggests good dental health can protect against heart disease,” Kevin says.
Bacteria that cause gum disease can travel to blood vessels and valves elsewhere in the body causing inflammation and damage, raising your risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.
4. Get out of breath
Regular exercise is vital for protecting the heart.
“Thirty minutes of exercise a day is still a good rule of thumb,” Kevin explains.
“There doesn’t need to be a huge heap of sweat on the floor at the end of it, but you should get a bit out of breath and feel tired at the end of it.”
5. Take desk breaks
If you struggle to fit in your 30 minutes of exercise a day, any movement no matter how small is good for the heart.
“This could simply be getting up every hour from your desk and having a walk around the office,” Kevin explains.
6. Manage stress
Stress alone won’t cause heart disease but it can be linked to unhealthy habits that increase your risk such as comfort eating.
“You have to find a way of managing stress and anxiety that works for you,” Kevin says.
“For some people that might be going out to exercise.
“For others it might be reading a book, meditation, yoga or having a bath.
7. Limit red meat
The phrase ‘you are what you eat’ is very true,” Kevin says.
“You don’t have to be vegetarian to have a healthy heart but if you are eating steak every day for lunch and dinner that is not good.
“How many times you can eat red meat will vary depending on the portion size but if you’re having a modest serving, two or three times a week, you are on the right track.”
Source: The Sun