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Love your Heart this Valentines day: Heart Health Tips

Posted on 12 Feb, 2018 - No comments yet!

The heart is an amazing organ and as Valentines Day approaches, what better time to think about heart health! This organ is situated in the middle of your chest just to the left of your sternum (breast) bone. It is slightly offset to the left, and is around the size of your clenched fist. The heart itself is made up of four separate chambers and is slightly conical in shape.

10 fun heart facts
  1. 5% of your blood supplies the heart, 15-20% goes to the brain and central nervous system, and 22% goes to the kidneys
  2. Your heart beats on average 3 billion times in your lifetime
  3. As the heart is tipped to the left, your left lung is smaller to accommodate it
  4. The heart has electrical impulses, so can still beat outside the body providing it has adequate oxygen supply
  5. The heart begins beating at four weeks after conception
  6. Your heart pumps enough blood to fill 3 super tankers in your lifetime
  7. The average heart beats 100,000 times a day
  8. Each minute your heart pumps 1.5 gallons of blood around the body
  9. A kitchen tap would need to run on full power for 45 years to equal the amount of blood pumped by the heart in an average lifetime
  10. Heart disease is the biggest killer of both men and women
Heart Health tips

You can see what an amazing organ your heart is, and with it being so vital to life we need to think about keeping it healthy.

  • Lower your cholesterol

There are two main types of fat, saturated and unsaturated. We should be aiming to lower our saturated fat (pies, cakes, butter, cheeses etc) and increase our unsaturated fat (seeds, nuts, oily fish) It is also helpful to lower the total daily fat in our diet by choosing healthier cooking options, such as grilling, steaming, poaching etc. Try reading the traffic light food labels when doing your shopping, some products may surprise you how much fat they contain!

  • Increase your fibre intake

We should aim to up our fibre intake. This can also help lower cholesterol, keep our bowels working well and lower your risk of heart disease

  • Increase exercise

Try to take part in physical activity that makes your heart pump faster and leaves you a little sweaty! This type of exercise not only lowers cholesterol but gets that heart muscle working hard!

  • Reduce alcohol intake

Many people have commented how much more energy they had, and how they slept better after Dry January! Why not try for a few alcohol free days each week. Remember alcohol has lots of hidden calories!

  • Give up smoking! 

If possible give up smoking, it is a huge cause of heart disease. If you cant quite completely try cutting down. The NHS have a helpful guide here. 

More Information

The NHS have a little tool to work out your heart health age, it may just give you the push you need to think about making some changes! I did mine, are you brave enough to do yours here? Mine showed my heart is approximately 3 years older than my biological age.. which I didn’t think was too bad!

If your worried about your cholesterol then please speak to your GP who can arrange testing. You should always seek medical advice before starting any new exercise regime!

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