We've put together the top 10 things you can do to improve the health of your heart and reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The fats found in processed meats, deep fried foods and full fat dairy can increase our bad cholesterol levels. This can lead to an increased risk of CVD.
Doing regular aerobic exercise to raise your heart rate is very important for your overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes 5 times per week.
This oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which have been shown to improve heart health by reducing plaque build up in arteries. Aim for 1 portion of salmon and 1 portion of white fish per week – roughly 140g each.
Easier said than done! But stress is not good for our ticker, so finding ways to de-stress your day is very important. Gentle exercise such as yoga or pilates can really help you to unwind and will help to improve overall fitness too.
Soluble fibre in particular, found in oats and root vegetables, can help lower cholesterol and in turn lowers our risk of CVD. Also switch to wholegrain versions of your favourite bread, pasta or cereals to bump up your fibre intake.
Studies show that those who do not get enough sleep regularly, are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Aim for 7-8 hours a night.
Potassium, found in high quality bananas and sweet potatoes, can help to lower our blood pressure.
Often found in plant sources such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil, unsaturated fats can help reduce our bad cholesterol levels and improve heart health.
A little red wine can be good for our hearts, but too much can be harmful! Follow health guidelines for a healthy ticker – no more than a 175ml serving per day. Remember to have 2 alcohol-free days a week.
Smoking puts serious strain on our arteries and heart health. See if you can break the habit and quit.
Nutritionist Emma Brown (ANutr), MSc Human Nutrition is passionate about how food science applies to the human body, and how the nutrients in what we eat affect us and ultimately have an impact on our health.