The heart is one of the most important organs in our body. Whilst you can function well with one eye, one kidney or a partial liver, without a heart you would die. It is one awesome machine pumping blood around your body at a rate of 100,000 times a day. It keeps cells supplied with oxygen and dispatches essential nutrients to enable your body to function throughout the day.
It is hardly surprising that such a hard working organ needs some maintenance, but it is surprising the number of people that just take it for granted. Obesity levels are rising and along with it so to are heart related illness and deaths – the correlation is obvious and indeed weight and diet control is the number one way to help maintain a healthy heart. Taking the UK alone, an unhealthy heart causes nearly 40% of all deaths.
There is a common misconception that heart related illnesses and deaths are a thing for middle aged and older patients. This is not so, with heart diseases such as coronary artery disease stemming from childhood and, as is so often reported, obesity is too common in children which will not only have a negative effect on the heart but creates a bad pattern of eating that the person is likely to continue as they get older.
A heart that has been destroyed can be irreversible. It is therefore important to act early in maintaining this vital, vital organ. Start with your diet and include more vegetables and fruit, avoid bad fats such as saturated and trans fats opting instead for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Eat at least two pieces of fish a week, including one oily fish (high in Omega-3) and cut the salt in your meals.
Get active and do some swimming, running, exercise classes or team sports. This helps increase circulation and cuts your risk of getting cardiovascular disease greatly. As you get older keep active by walking, doing some gardening or even just housework. Aim for at least 30 minutes every day of moderate exercise.