Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) is the world’s number one killer, claiming 17.5 million lives every year. World Heart Day aims to raise awareness for this, and to educate people on how to prevent and control CVD.
So how can each of us look after our heart? Here’s a few simple ways we can take action:
Too much sugar in the diet is a huge contributing factor to heart disease. Research has shown that sugar raises the blood pressure, and may also stimulate the liver to dump harmful fats in the bloodstream. Studies have also shown that regardless of how healthily a person eats, excess sugar still leads to higher risk of cardiovascular mortality.
Try to eat at least 5 portions (about a handful each) of fruit and veg every day. This may seem like a lot but there’s SO MANY varieties and so much you can do with them! (Again, try Pinterest for ideas!)
Try limiting your alcohol intake to the recommended amount (up to 2 units of alcohol per day).
Be aware of processed foot, as it tends to be higher in sugar, salt and fat.
Aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity 5 times a week, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity. Walking, housework, dancing- lots of things count as physical activity!
Small things in daily life can help you to be more active- take the stairs instead of the lift/escalator or walk or cycle instead of driving/taking public transport.
Try exercising with friends/family to help you feel more motivated and to make it fun! There are lots of apps available to make exercise easy and so you can see your progress!
Within 2 years of giving up, the risk of coronary heart disease reduces significantly, and within 15 years the risk of CVD returns to that of a non-smoker, so NOW IS THE TIME!
Exposure to secondhand smoke also causes heart disease, so if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones.