Posted on February 14, 2019
Love your heart this Valentine’s Day
Your heart needs treating well every day, not just on Valentine’s Day. Here are five ways to show your heart a little love and keep it happy and healthy.
Go for garlic
Garlic has been used traditionally for the heart. The active constituent of garlic is allicin, which has antioxidant properties.
Stay in shape
From weight loss to better mental health, there are lots of benefits to getting active. As well as helping you look and feel great, regular exercise can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, and reduce your risk of heart disease
And it’s easier than you think. If you aren’t generally active, try building exercise into your daily routine gradually. Begin with a 10 minute walk, then slowly increase your speed and distance. For those with joint problems, low impact activities like walking or swimming are a good choice.
During aerobic exercise, or cardio, you should aim to move fast enough to increase your heart rate and breathe harder, whilst still being able to comfortably hold a conversation.
Find heart-friendly foods
Simple swaps can make a big difference to your diet. For example, to avoid saturated fats, choose leaner cuts of meat, or opt for lower fat dairy products.
Foods that are full of fibre will reduce your heart disease risk, so pack your plate with plenty of fruit and veg, and switch from a sugary cereal to something wholegrain.
Try to eat fish at least twice a week, including oily fish like pilchards, sardines and salmon. These contain omega-3, which contributes to the normal function of the heart.
For those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, flaxseed oil offers a good alternative. Lifeplan organic flaxseed oil contains alpha linolenic acid which contributes to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels when 2g is taken daily.
Stop the salt
Whilst many of us check food labels for their fat and sugar content, it’s important to watch out for salt too. Cutting your salt intake can help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Remember that most processed and ready-made foods already contain salt, so avoid adding more during cooking or at the table.
Say goodbye to smoking
Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. So if you are a smoker, giving up is the best gift you could give your heart.
In fact, a year after stopping, your risk of a heart attack will fall to half of that of a smoker. For support with quitting, speak to your pharmacist or GP.