During Healthy Heart Month at HBP Group we will be raising awareness of heart disease as the number one killer of the western world. Here are the Heart Foundation's top tips to keep your heart healthy.
1. Stop Smoking. This is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease. Think about why you smoke. Set a date to stop.
The use of nicotine replacement products like patches, gum and lozenges will help you quit. Plan how you will reward yourself with the money you save. For help giving up smoking, call Quitline on 131 848.
2. When you plan to stop smoking cigarettes, enlist the help of friends and family. Plan how to deal with cravings and be confident you'll remain a non-smoker.
3. Second-hand smoke from other people's cigarettes can have an immediate effect on your heart health. Exposure to second-hand smoke causes heart disease, lung cancer, other respiratory diseases and a range of health problems in children.
The Heart Foundation strongly recommends that people with existing cardiovascular disease avoid any exposure to second-hand smoke at home, work or in public places.
4. The Heart Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity for adults on all or most days of the week. Find an activity you enjoy, find someone to do it with, set yourself a goal and make it part of your day.
5. Mix up your normal routine by trying something different like tai chi, yoga or skipping. Varying your physical activity may help keep you interested and motivated.
6. Grab a cycling buddy or get the family onto bikes as a fun way to improve your fitness and explore your local neighbourhood.
7. Children need to be active for at least 60 minutes every day. At birthdays and Christmas, try to give gifts that encourage children to play and be active. Don't permit a television in children's bedrooms and limit the time they watch TV or play video games.
8. Walking gives large muscle groups a good workout. It's good for your heart and will reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Walking is inexpensive, anyone can do it anywhere and there is little wear and tear on the body. Take steps to improve your health today.
9. Think about how you can fit physical activity into your daily routine. Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the extra way to work or home. Ride a bike to the shops instead of taking the car. Meet friends or family for a game of tennis. Take the stairs rather than the lift.
10. Set up a healthy kitchen at home. Stock your fridge and cupboards with healthy foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, tuna, salmon, lean meats and low or reduced-fat dairy products. Leave those high saturated fat and high salt foods on the supermarket shelves. If they are not in the house, you are less likely to stray from your healthy eating habits.
11. Add fish to your BBQ menu. Wrap whole fish in foil with lemon and herbs and place it on the grill. Fish is high in Omega-3 fat, which is one of the fats that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. The Heart Foundation recommends you eat fish at least twice a week. Why not try catching one!
12. Enjoy the healthier alternatives when eating out with friends by trying the following:
- • Choose vegetable-based sauces instead of creamy ones.
- • Opt for thin crust pizzas with vegetable toppings and reduced fat cheese.
- • Order plain breads instead of high fat garlic and herb breads.
- • Ask for salads and vegetables as side dishes instead of chips
- • Request meat and fish to be grilled (no butter) rather than fried or crumbed.
- • Walking to and from the restaurant.
13. Use margarine spreads on your sandwiches instead of butter or dairy blends. If you have a high blood cholesterol level, try replacing your usual margarine spread with one containing plant sterols, which can help to lower your blood cholesterol level.
14. Choose salad dressings and mayonnaise made from canola, sunflower or soybean oil. Better still, make your own dressing using these oils. When eating out, ask for dressings to be served on the side so you can add your own.
15. Try incorporating dried peas, dried or canned beans or lentils into two meals a week. An easy way to do this is replace a garden or potato salad with a mixed bean salad.
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