World Heart Day is this September29th, helping to raise awareness of the importance of your heart and just what you can do to be heart healthy! It’s so crucial, especially in Ireland where we have such a high prevalence of cardiovascular disease! There is so much that you can do to help your heart so I thought I would bring you my top 5 tips for heart health:
- Give up smoking! If you're a smoker, quit. It's the single best thing you can do for your heart health as we know that 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.
- Get moving! Good for your heart, your mood, your motivation and pretty much everything else! Do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on 5 days a week, simple. Make it fun and you are more likely to keep it up in the long term.
- Get your 7 a day. Eat at least 7 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They are a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals and will not only help your heart health but every other aspect of your heart too. An easy way to do this is to ensure that half your plate is made up of salad and vegetables with each meal.
- Eat less salt. Avoid using salt at the table and add less to your cooking. Watch out for high salt levels in ready-made foods and check the food labels to reduce the salt you are eating. Adults should eat less than 6g of salt per day, roughly a teaspoon.
- Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as pilchards, sardines and salmon are a source of omega-3 fats, which may help protect against heart disease and are a great source of protein too.
HeartBeat cardiac screening is available to members over the age 12 at no additional cost every two years. To date laya healthcare have screened over 110,000 members. The screening checks Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, a physical examination, electrocardiogram (ECG) and a review and report by a consultant cardiologist.
For more information on HeartBeat, visit www.layahealthcare.ie/yourbenefits/heartscreening
If you like this blog post you might also like Karl Henry's post on Why Cardio is good for you.