Give your heart the best start to 2019

By June Shannon Heart News   |   7th Jan 2019

Read our top tips on looking after your heart in the new year

One week into 2019 and if, like many, you are already struggling with your new year’s resolutions, take heart. There is no need to make drastic changes to your lifestyle when small steps will do. Here are the top three things we recommend for a heart healthy start to 2019.

Healthy Eating

Fad diets are not effective for long-term weight loss. Losing weight too quickly can leave you tired and hungry, so you give up, regaining the weight as quickly as it came off. Keep your focus on the habits you want to change rather than on an ‘all or nothing’ approach. So rather than thinking about all the foods you feel you must give up or go without, why not see the new year as a time to embrace a whole new way of eating healthily for the good of your heart.

When it comes to maintaining a heart-healthy diet, remember that alcohol is high in sugar and calories and drinking more than the recommended amount can be harmful to your heart. For women, the recommended maximum limit is 11 standard drinks a week and for men it is 17 standard drinks a week. A standard drink is half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine.

Fad diets are not effective for long-term weight loss.

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Exercise

A study published last year in the Lancet Global Health journal found that one in three women and one in four men worldwide did not get enough exercise to stay healthy, meaning that 1.4 billion adults were at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers due to a lack of physical activity.

We all know that regular exercise is good for your heart while inactivity greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. All it takes is 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise five days a week to keep your heart healthy. It can be difficult to find an extra half an hour in our busy days so why not try to work exercise into your day instead. You don’t have to be a top athlete, simply walking for 30 minutes a day is a great way to get active in 2019.

Inactivity greatly increases your risk of heart disease and stroke

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Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for heart health. In fact, the World Health Organisation has said that poor sleep should be considered a modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease along with smoking, lack of exercise and poor diet.

In 2016 the American Heart Association released a scientific statement on the association between the duration and quality of sleep and cardiovascular disease. The statement found that sleep issues, especially not sleeping enough, obstructive sleep apnoea (five or more pauses in breathing per hour of sleep) and insomnia can influence the risk of obesity, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and overall cardiovascular disease.

What the doctor recommends?

Asked for her top tips for a healthy heart in 2019, Dr Angie Brown, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation recommended, a healthy diet, drinking less alcohol, exercising more and getting good quality sleep.

 

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cardiovascular disease diet exercise healthy eating healthy habits healthy living heart heart disease heart healthy new year stroke

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