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Maesteg West

National Heart month

Date Published: 18/02/2012
Ten lifestyle tips to make your heart healthier:

Get moving - Do 150 minutes of moderately, low intensity exercise every week. Make sure its something you enjoy doing and that it gets you warm and a bit breathless. 

Give up smoking - Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker. March 14th 2012 is National No Smoking Day – could this be the beginning of a smoke free heart?

Manage your weight - Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a well-balanced diet low in fat and high in fruit and vegetables, combined with plenty of physical activity.

Drop the salt - To maintain a healthy blood pressure, stop using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking, or cut it out completely. Also, watch out for high salt levels in processed foods. Check the food labels: a food is high in salt if it has more than 1.5g salt (or 0.6g sodium) per 100g.

Get your five a day - Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Add dried fruit to breakfast cereal, and add vegetables to your pasta sauces, curries, etc.

Eat oily fish - Eat oily fish twice a week. Fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon are an excellent source of omega-3 fats, which can help to protect against heart disease.

Walk off stress - If you're feeling under pressure, clear your mind with a walk. It will help put your ideas in order and reduce tension. If it's a brisk walk, it will also count towards your daily activity.

Cut saturated fat - Small changes to your diet can have positive health benefits. Choose semi-skimmed over full-fat milk, leaner cuts of meat and steam or grill foods rather than frying.

Drink less - Alcohol can be fattening. If you added three or four gin and tonics to your usual daily diet, you could put on nearly 2kg over four weeks. Read the food label - When shopping, look at the label on food packets to see what the product contains. Understanding what is in food will help you make healthier choices.

Source : British Heart Foundation For more information on how you can look after your heart go to : www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Healthyheart  or www.bhf.org.uk
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