6 Health Tips to Protect Your Heart this Valentine’s Day
This Valentine’s Day, make sure you keep your heart safe. There are a few key things you can do to avoid heart disease and ensure that you stay healthy. Dr Lizzie from The Online Clinic spoke to us, to give us some top tips to look after your heart:
Ditch the cigarettes
One of the quickest things you can do to improve your heart health is to stop smoking. Your heart and cardiovascular system are literally poisoned by cigarettes and the ingredients in them. By quitting, you protect yourself and those around you – especially children. If you’re struggling to quit, remember that there are so many forms of help now – nicotine patches, vaping, gum and Champix (a tablet that helps to stop cravings).
Watch your blood pressure
People often do not have any symptoms of high blood pressure but having a normal blood pressure is very important for the health of your heart. For this reason – make sure you get your blood pressure checked at least twice a year. If you are on medication, it might be worth investing in a blood pressure machine so that you can check your blood pressure at home. Alternatively, most gyms and pharmacy will check your blood pressure for free.
Watch your diet
What you eat is very important for your heart. Most experts advocate a diet high in plant-based foods and lower in animal fats. This helps to boost your ‘good’ cholesterol over your ‘bad cholesterol.’ Too much bad cholesterol can clog your arteries and damage your heart.
Keep your heart pumping
Try and raise your heart rate for 20 minutes, 5 times a week. You can choose to do this with any exercise that you enjoy – it doesn’t require a gym membership! Walking is free, so why not find a friend to walk with? You can monitor your steps with a step counter and aim for a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.
Go easy on the booze!
Expert opinions conflict on their reports of alcohol and health. Some have said that red wine can even be good for you in small doses! But what we do know is that drinking over the recommended amount of units per week is detrimental to your cardiovascular system, heart and your general health. Make sure you think before you drink!
Watch your waist
Finally – watch your waist circumference. A higher waist circumference is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, so reduce your weight gain through taking regular exercise, watching your diet and limiting your alcohol intake.
Advice given by Dr Elizabeth Kershaw-Yates, GP and one of the medical team at The Online Clinic: www.theonlineclinic.co.uk