Looking after your heart

Katharine Bright gives you nutrition and lifestyle tips to keep your heart healthy. Katharine is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a clinic in Sevenoaks and is also co-founder of The Health Boost – a website dedicated to providing a family friendly solution to healthy eating.

Heart disease is unfortunately still on the rise and is still the leading cause of death for both men and women in the world. Nutritionally there is much that you can do to protect yourself and since prevention is invariably better than cure it’s time to protect your heart.

Healthy weight
Keeping your weight healthy is key. Rather than just looking at BMI we now look at a healthy waist to hip ratio. Your waist should measure smaller than your hips. If it is not then it’s time to take action. Central obesity as it’s called, carries more health risks than overall obesity. Being overweight also puts a strain on your heart and can lead to an increased blood pressure. High blood pressure should not be ignored and a nutritional therapist can work with your GP to help with this.

Sleep
If you have read my previous articles you will know that I am a bit obsessed by making sure we are getting enough sleep! Lack of good quality sleep impacts our health in many ways. While you are asleep your body repairs itself. Lack of sleep raises our blood pressure, causes an increase in the hormone cortisol and makes it harder for our body to regulate blood sugar levels. All these factors will make it harder for you to keep your weight down.

Keep active
By keeping active I don’t mean going to the gym 3-4 times a week and then resting the rest of the day. Our lifestyles have become very sedentary and we need to change this.
It’s much better to keep active throughout the day rather than just a blast in the gym and then sitting around for the rest of the day. A brisk walk is excellent for your health and can be managed by everyone. You need to make sure you’re out of breath and puffing slightly for at least 15 minutes of the walk!

Increase omega 3 oils
Increase your intake of omega 3 oils by eating flaxseed oil, walnuts and small amounts of cold-water fish. There is considerable evidence that people who consume a diet rich in omega oils either from fish or vegetable sources have a significant reduced risk of developing heart disease.

Eat more vegetables
In January I wrote about the importance of eating more vegetables in your diet and this is especially important in protecting against heart disease. Eating 8-10 servings of vegetables in a rainbow of colours is ideal.

Love beetroot
Beetroot is excellent for keeping your heart healthy. It contains nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide acts like a vasodilator.
It helps to lower blood pressure and improve circulation. We have a delicious beetroot recipe over the page to get you eating more beetroot.

Eat garlic
Like beetroot, garlic also contains nitrates, which help keep your heart healthy. Garlic also contains a compound called hydrogen sulphide, which helps to lower blood pressure. Garlic has also been found to reduce total cholesterol if consumed regularly.

Katharine Bright is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a clinic in Sevenoaks. To book an appointment call her on 07769 636352 or email kat@thehealthboost.co.uk.
She is co-founder of The Health Boost (www.thehealthboost.co.uk) – a website dedicated to providing a family friendly solution to healthy eating.