For many, February is a month of romance and fluttering hearts. However, it is also important that we remember to look after our hearts.
Words by Reece Hannaford
National Heart Month takes place every February, a chance for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to raise awareness around maintaining a healthy heart and the dangers of coronary disease, the number one killer in the UK, claiming 73,000 deaths each year.
Maintaining a healthy heart, whatever your age, is the most important thing you can do to help prevent disease. Here we share some simple tips and changes you can make to your daily routine to help improve your cardiovascular health.
Drinking and smoking are two of the biggest contributors to heart problems. Smokers are almost twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, compared to non-smokers, and excessive alcohol consumption can lead to issues such as high blood pressure and abnormal heart rhythms, so avoiding these vices as much as possible may be the greatest Valentine’s gift you can give your heart.
Although it may be surprising the extent to which diet can contribute to heart health, what is not surprising is how we can change our diet to maintain optimum cardio health. Eating more fruit and veg is encouraged, as they can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and unhealthy fats are to be avoided, as they increase cholesterol levels. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a build-up of plaques in your arteries which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
• Physical activity can help reduce blood pressure, cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
• Keeping active can also help you control your weight and improve your mental health, meaning you can feel healthy as well as be healthy.
• For more heart advice, visit www.bhf.org.uk