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Healthy Heart Lifestyle Choices

When it comes to a healthy heart, many different lifestyle choices play their part in keeping your heart healthy from diet to exercise to mental health and expert monitoring.

If you are worried about your heart or would like to review your heart health, then you can book an appointment by phoning 0161 883 0366 today, or use our contact form.

Tips for a Healthy Heart

Here are our tips to maintain a healthy heart:

Blood pressure advice

healthy heart blood pressure

For a healthy heart, try the dietary approach which emphasises fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.

Reduce salt consumption. This is important in the management of raised blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes and kidney disease. 

Pay attention to the amount of salt is in the processed foods you eat, such as ready-made meals.

Eat less saturated fat and total fat.

Maintain a healthy weight. 

Increase physical activity. Regular physical activity can help lower your blood pressure and keep your weight under control. Strive for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. A step count of >10000 steps/day is beneficial.

I would advise that you limit alcohol consumption.  Alcohol can raise your blood pressure.  If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy women of all ages and men older than 65 that means up to one drink a day; for men aged 65 and younger up to 2 drinks a day.

Try to manage stress.  Reduce stress as much as possible. Practice healthy coping techniques such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Getting plenty of sleep can help. Consider meditation, yoga, and Pilates.

The Mediterranean diet

mediterranean diet for healthy-heart

The Mediterranean approach, unlike other diets, encourages healthy living and a healthy heart; being active and exercising, as well as choosing fresh, good quality ingredients. This approach also recognises the importance of enjoying food, taking time over your meals and being in a relaxed environment when eating.

The basic Mediterranean dietary approach consists of:

  • high amounts of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and cereals.
  • moderate amounts of olive oil, fish, and poultry.
  • low number of dairy products, red meat, processed meats, and sweet foods.

Take time to chew your food. Allow your body to break down and absorb nutrients more effectively.  Stop rushing your meals, eating on the go or when stress can lead to sluggish digestion or absorption of nutrients. This could result in symptoms such as gas, bloating and feelings of fullness.

Current research strongly associates this kind of healthy eating plan with the following health benefits: increased longevity; reduce cardiovascular mortality; reduced incidence of cancer; reduced incidence of Parkinson's disease; and reduced incidence of Alzheimer's disease. It has also been shown to perform better as a weight loss tool and a low-fat diet and about the same as a low carbohydrate diet.

As an introduction to the Mediterranean approach, the following steps are recommended:

  • eat primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts;
  • replace margarine with alternatives including natural healthy fats such as avocado oil and olive oil;
  • use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour foods;
  • drink red wine in moderation;
  • and do not forget to drink plenty of water.

The Mediterranean diet is of an anti-inflammatory nature and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease including heart attack and stroke.

Alcohol

drink less alcohol

Current UK government guidelines to maintain low risk is 14 units per week.  High alcohol consumption is also associated with consuming a lot of extra calories and this will lead to unwanted weight gain.

This is a primary risk factor for elevated blood pressure.

For every 1 kg reduction in weight one can average a reduction of systolic and diastolic pressure by 1.2 and 1 mm, respectively. Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, whilst repeat drinking can lead to long-term increases. High alcohol consumption may also affect liver function. Alcohol is often taken to relieve stress.

Physical activity

exercise regularly

Physical inactivity is now the fourth largest cause of death and disability in the UK.

Increasing daily physical activity can significantly reduce the associated health risks associated with being sedimentary and help to maintain a healthy heart.

Walking regularly throughout the day can have several positive effects on the body, including lowering blood pressure, improving cholesterol, stabilising blood sugar levels, increasing energy expenditure and reducing feelings of stress and tiredness. 

Avoid being a “couch potato” in front of a TV, computer, or device. Reduce the number of hours of screen time. Consider using a bicycle rather than driving.

Aerobic exercise

30 minutes of the following exercises burns a lot of calories!

  • Brisk walking: 160 cals
  • cycling: 201 cals
  • aerobics: 246 cals
  • dancing: 208 cals
  • housework: 92 cals
  • jogging: 268 - 455 cals
  • swimming: 279 cals
  • tennis (singles): 205 cals

Emotional well-being

emotional wellbeing

Life pressures can have both positive and negative effect on our health, depending on how significant pressures are how we choose to deal with. Pressure over a prolonged period, without enough relief, may lead to detrimental effects on both mental and physical well-being.

Becoming resilient to stress is key to boosting energy reserves. Resilience is the capacity to prepare for, recover from, and adapt to stress.

There are certain lifestyle choices that can be made which have been found to alleviate the physiological signs of stress at a high level and help maintain a healthy heart these include:

  • making smart food choices such as less sweet/starchy foods and caffeine and more whole foods;
  • focus on steady-state and low intensity exercise rather than high intensity interval training;
  • planning to improve sleep quality by avoiding alcohol consumption evening;
  • training the brain to be able to better focus on the present moment;
  • and planning structured relaxation by setting aside time each day’s/week to engage in healthy relaxation the results in lower heart rate and lower levels of stimulation brackets watching TV or checking social media may be counter-productive to relaxation).

Mindfulness

Mindfulness of the concept of (mindfulness) is centred around engaging the mind on the here now, experiencing the present moment with curiosity and acceptance.

This may be in relation to our thoughts, feelings or even physical discomfort stop mindfulness encourages us to explore our emotions and thoughts in an objective way, helping us to take a step back from what is going on in the mind stop we may still experience negative thoughts and feelings, but it is our relationship to these feelings which determine the effect that they have on our mood state.

Mindfulness helps us to change this relationship by simply making us more aware.

There has been a significant increase in research into mindfulness and its applications in recent years. Here are some of the potential benefits of engaging in regular mindfulness practice; improve mental health; better pain management; weight loss; coping with change; enhanced overall well-being; and improvements in physical health.

Whilst there are many methods variations in mindfulness practice, want to start with includes the following; sit in a chair, making sure you’re comfortable; take five deep breaths, focusing on breathing new air, and the softening of the body during the acceleration; as you breathe out on the fifth breath close your eyes and allow the breath to return to normal; focus on the weight of your body, the sounds around you and any strong emotion; after 30 seconds or so, continue to follow the Drive the breath without controlling it; and once you’ve once you feel ready, focus in back the weight of the body and open the ice in your own time.

As you move through the exercise of mind may wander stop if so, simply acknowledge the thought and gently bring your attention back to Brive without judgement.

Resilience

resilience

The way the heartbeats can provide insight into how well we perform both mentally and physically.

Heartbeat that gradually increases and then decreases produces a healthy heart rate pattern stop a smooth heart rate pattern may be referred to as coherence and is associated with increased blood flow to the area of our brain responsible for problem solving, healing emotions, decision-making and enhance cognitive behaviour person that is coherent will have a good balance between both the physical and emotional resilience.

Set achievable goals.

Have small realistic targets like diet, weight loss and exercise and put them to practice.

keep a chart/diary – know your progress.

Keep informed.

How can we help you?

You can use the form below to get in touch or visit the contact page.

Contact Form
Levy Heart Health

Contact Levy

HCA The Wilmslow Hospital
52 Alderley Road
Wilmslow SK9 1NY
0161  883 0366
info@levyhearthealth.com
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