Sep 27, 2017

Salmon on a Saturday, Tuna on a Tuesday

This is by no means an instruction or even an attempt at this week’s meal planner, but an over-simplified way of saying you should eat fish twice a week!  This does, of course, need to be further substantiated into some sort of sensible context which, in this case, means talking about how you can best maintain a healthy heart.

World Heart Day takes place on Friday 29th September, with the sole aim of inspiring millions of people around the world to be ‘heart healthy’.  Your heart powers your whole body so you can live life to the full. Yet it is subject to the UK’s number one killer, cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Of course, CVD isn’t a given for everyone, but when it claims the lives of 17.5 million people every year (expected to rise to 23 million by 2030), it’s certainly worth a thinking about what can be done to keep it at bay.

CVD is a fairly straightforward disease in terms of how you can prevent it as a few small and simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference.  According to the World Heart Day website, eating and drinking more healthily, getting more exercise and stopping smoking are changes that you can easily make to your daily routines to reduce your chance of developing CVD.

These handy lifestyle tweaks, once in place, are also a great way to maintain a healthy heart as, together, they will burn calories, regulate your blood pressure, lower your blood glucose levels, reduce the bad cholesterol in your body and work to boost the good.

Cholesterol is a waxy fatty substance found in your blood.  It is made in the body by the liver and plays a vital role in how your cells work as well as being needed to make vitamin D.  However, it isn’t all good.  Too much cholesterol can significantly increase your risk of heart and circulatory disease.  But consistency with everything to do with a healthy heart, exercise and a balanced diet can win the cholesterol battle. 

As with all good battles, there is a goodie and a baddie and, in this case, the two opponents are simply known as good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL).  And it’s the big bad LDL that you need to reduce in your body.  To help you achieve this, the main food group to avoid are foods that are high in saturated fats.  This is because your body is more than capable of producing all the LDL that you need, so eating lots of saturated fats just means that your body will be producing an excess amount.

Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as beef, lamb, pork and poultry with skin, as well as butter, cream, cheese and other dairy products.  So with the aim of limiting the amount of saturated fat that we take on-board, we should look to eat a sensible amount of this type of food in our diet.  Foods that are low in saturated fats on the other hand include all fruit and vegetables, oats, beans, pulses, lentils and nuts.

And then of course there’s the ‘fatty fish’.  You’d be right for thinking this doesn’t sound too appealing, but oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, and trout are just some of the winners from the sea.  And better still, they are bursting with the magic ingredient omega-3 fatty acids – aka the good fats! 

To learn more about the wonders of these friendly fish, take a look at this article.

A balanced diet that includes fatty fish twice a week will reduce your risk of heart disease by more than 30%... so why not try salmon on a Saturday and Tuna on a Tuesday?

And for the other five days of the week… there is plenty of time for some exercise.  Like all muscles, the heart will get stronger and healthier the harder you make it work.  And the good news is, you don’t need to be in training for the next Olympics. A simple, brisk 30 minute walk each day will do the job.  But, if you feel you want to do more, you can quickly build up to aerobic exercise such as jogging, cycling, swimming and weights. 

We have a great section on our website about exercise, complete with fitness videos to ease you in gently.

For people with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, the need to look after your heart is even greater.  This is because the risk of developing heart disease is naturally higher, twice as high in fact than someone without diabetes.  But the advice is just the same; be active, eat a heart healthy diet, shed the pounds, quit smoking and keep your numbers within the expected ranges.

If you would like to know a little more about the signs and symptoms of diabetes, then register for a free account at today where you can also view hints and tips on energy-boosting recipes and exercise routines.

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