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Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute 08 Sep 2016

8 Top Tips For Looking After Your Heart

Read these tips to fuel your heart and power your life.

World Heart Day takes place on September 29th of each year, and is an initiative developed by the World Heart Federation with the idea of promoting better care for our hearts. The theme for this year focuses on powering your life and fuelling your heart. By taking care of your heart you empower yourself to live a healthier life.

Every day, your heart beats about 100,000 times, pumping 23,000 liters of blood around your body. Your blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to every corner of the body, while carrying away unwanted carbon dioxide and waste products. All of your organs rely on your heart to deliver what they need to continue working efficiently. Without the heart, your organs would fail. This is why the heart is ultimately, the essence of human life.

How does the heart work?

The right sided heart chamber pumps blood that has already travelled around the body, back towards the lungs. Blood enters the heart through the major body veins and fills the right atrium. The muscle surrounding the right atrium contracts and squeezes the blood into the right ventricle. Lastly, the right ventricle pushes the blood out of the heart through the pulmonary arteries towards the lungs.

Oxygenated blood leaving the lungs is pumped by the left side of the heart to the rest of the body. Blood enters the left atrium through the pulmonary veins. The left atrium squeezes the blood into the left ventricle. The muscles surrounding the left ventricle then force the blood out of the heart through the aorta, which splits into different arteries supplying our whole body with oxygenated blood.

It’s not very difficult to look after your heart. Just a few simple steps practiced regularly, such as healthy eating, doing more exercise, and quitting smoking can vastly improve your heart health and your overall wellbeing.

It’s vital to keep your heart healthy and strong. Here are our top tips to look after your heart:

  • Give up smoking – it’s one of the best things you can do for your heart
  • Get active – exercise everyday can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, plus it boosts your mood and reduces stress
  • Look after your weight – being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease
  • Eat plenty of fiber – fiber can lower your risk of heart disease. Try to eat at least 30g every day. High fiber foods include apples, broccoli, carrots, wholegrains, cereals and beans. To get started at breakfast, eat a ½ cup of bran cereal, which contains 8.8 g of fiber
  • Cut the fat – reduce the amount of saturated fat you consume, as it can contribute to high cholesterol levels. Check out our blog on heart healthy fats
  • Get 5-a-day – eat at least five portions of fruit or vegetables every day
  • Cut back on salt – too much salt can increase your blood pressure. Adults should consume no more than 6g of salt per day
  • Eat more oily fish – mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon are a good source of omega-3 fats, which help protect the heart from heart disease

Making these changes will have a significant and positive effect on powering your heart and improving your life.

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