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Make a date with your heart

Your other half may have the key to your heart, but a healthy lifestyle is the key to a healthy heart.

Looking after your ticker doesn’t have to be for the faint hearted, set your heart on these easy tips.

  • Eat healthily.

Eat a well-balanced diet every day, try to include: 5 portions of fruit and veg, dairy products, such as milk and cheese. Starchy

foods such wholegrain pastas, bread, rice and potatoes

A source of protein; meat, fish, eggs and/or beans.

Fats are an important part of our diet, including saturated, polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. The bad fat that we need to avoid is trans-fat. This is the fat known to increase the risk of developing heart disease and having a stoke. These fats are known to raise our cholesterol levels therefore overtime will clog up our arteries. By cutting down on these fats you will improve your blood flow.

Cut down on your salt intake. Too much salt in your diet can increase your risk of high blood pressure which will increase the chance of developing heart disease.

Okay I see you reading this while glancing longingly at that heart shaped box of chocolates you’ve been given, well here’s the good news- Flavonoids- a component in chocolate can actually be good for you. Flavonoids are antioxidants that are known to defend against free radicals in the body - so go on one won’t hurt!

  • Exercise

Exercising for just 30 minutes a day 4-5 days a week will help to reduce your chances from developing heart disease. Regular exercise will ensue that the heart can efficiently pump blood through the body with little strain, therefore ensuring that it keeps your blood vessels flexible. This in turn will reduce your blood pressure, decreasing your chances of hearts attacks significantly.

Need any more of a reason for half an hour of exercise this evening?!

  • Get enough sleep.

Getting enough shut eye is an essential part of keeping that ticker healthy. No matter what your age or your lifestyle-by not getting enough sleep increases your risk of heart disease. Research has found that there is a strong connection between sleep apnea and heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke. With individuals who have sleep apnea significantly having a high chance of developing hypertension in the future. So however you decide on creating that calm and restful sleep environment tonight is down to you, just ensure you aim for 7-8 hours of sleep to keep that heart ticking.

  • Healthy mouth.

Did you know that your mouth is a window to your overall health? Bacteria from your mouth can get into your blood stream causing your blood vessels to become inflamed, therefore increasing your risk of developing heart disease and a stroke. Brushing your teeth twice a day could save you from a heart attack! who knew?!

  • Cut down on alcohol intake

Cutting down on your alcohol intake can never be a bad thing health wise, however limiting how much you drink will hugely benefit your heart. Alcohol can weaken your heart which means its unable to pump blood efficiently round your body, and is also known to increase the risk of developing high blood pressure, which is one of the risk factors for causing a heart attack.

Wining and dining that special loved one tonight? Don’t put the bottle of red away just yet- research has found that the flavonoids in red wine may help to prevent clotting in your blood vessels and have an antioxidant effect.

So follow your heart this Valentine’s day and start loving that ticker.

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