Follow these essential rules for a healthier heart.
These 7 simple rules can substansially reduce women’s heart attack risk. And the more you do the better. If you do all seven, don’t smoke, and keep your weight and waist measurement under control, experts say risk could be cut in half.
Make a glass last
The low-risk women in this study consumed just over 8 grams of alcohol a day – around one small glass of wine (13% ABV), half a pint of beer or larger (4%) ABV or a small pub measure (25ml) of spirits (40% ABV). It’s not a lot so slip slowly.
Who knew these little wonder berries could be so good for the heart? Loaded with antioxidants, cranberry juice is a great fighter of heart disease and can even keep cancer at bay. If you're not so keen on the juice, there are other ways to incorporate them into your diet. Just add a few dried cranberries to plain yoghurt, or throw some into your lunchtime salad.
Are you a chocolate lover too? A piece of dark chocolate every now and again has been known to be good for the heart, and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. But make sure your chocolate is at least 70% cocoa, as that's where the health benefit comes from.
The women with the lowest heart disease risk consumed two-and-a-half servings of fish a week - UK experts recommend making one of these an oily fish like salmon.
Three to four servings of wholegrains protected against heart attack in the study. Try some newer grains, such as low GI feekah (young green wheat) and farro (similar to pearl barley).
In the study, women with the lowest heart attack risk walked (or cycled) 40 minutes daily and added an hours excercise at the weekend - higher than the UK recommendation of 30 minutes most days. Hard to achieve? Break it into 10-15 minute chunks. Good weekend options: a long hike, run or bike ride, dance or a dance based class such as Zumba, skating, swimming, gardening or anything else that raises your heart rate.
You've heard it before, but a diet high in plant foods is key, yet only a third of us reach five a day. Try smoothies with half greens (such as kale, spinach and broccoli) and half fruit, and extra veg to soup and stir-frys, and snack on bluberries rather than biscuits.