February is Heart Health Month, so we've taken a look at the 7 best ways to support your cardiovascular wellbeing:
Oats are a perfect way to start your morning as they are rich in fibre and can help to control cholesterol levels, as well as keep the arteries clear. Adding blueberries gives an additional boost to your heart health as the antioxidants they contain help protect cells against oxidate damage - a leading factor in the development of heart disease.
Avocados are packed with heart-friendly nutrients including monounsaturated fat, which balances the levels of cholesterol in the body. Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at Superfooduk.com explains, “Avocados contain potassium and Vitamin E, which supports healthy heart function and protects our cells against oxidative stress.”
Lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans are all rich in fibre and packed with omega-3 fatty acids which may help to improve levels of 'good' cholesterol in the blood and support healthy heart function.
4. CUT OUT SUGAR
Sugary foods can disturb natural hormone balance and raise blood sugar and insulin levels, often with subsequent negative effects on cardiovascular health.
5. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and wellbeing, but especially for the repair processes and chemical/hormone balances involved in keeping your heart healthy. Martina Della Vedova, Nutritionist at Natures Plus, says: “Sleep is a significant part of living a healthy lifestyle, but many of us simply do not get enough." If we don’t get enough sleep, we may find it harder to maintain our health and wellbeing in the long term.
6. GET ACTIVE
Doing moderate exercise at least once a week can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease. Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist, explains, “your heart rate increases with exercise. and that causes blood to move faster through the blood vessels, thereby improving circulation and reducing risk of arterial build-up.”