Ten golden rules to a healthy heart

Food, drink and exercise habits are all important factors to watch if you want to have a healthy heart.

You only have one heart, so you want to take care of it. Here are ten simple guidelines to help keep it healthy:

1. Move that body! Take regular physical exercise - at least thirty minutes a day, three days a week. With so many possibilities to choose from there must be one that suits you, whether it's swimming, running, cycling... or even dancing.

2. Walk more Don't grab your car keys or travel card as a matter of habit; try making those short trips on foot. If it's a longer journey, how about walking to the next bus stop or getting off the tube a stop earlier?

3. Eat well Healthy eating means a balanced, varied and adequate diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables.

4. Five a day We're all familiar with the recommendations of five portions of fruit and veg a day, but many doctors also recommend eating smaller, more frequent meals. Why not see if five smaller meals spread through the day suits your lifestyle?

5. Get fresh All too often, processed and packaged foods contain salt, sugar and other additives. When you start with fresh ingredients you know exactly what you're adding.

6. A pinch of salt Hypertension - high blood pressure -  is a risk factor for many health problems including heart attack and stroke, and salt is likely to make it worse. When you're cooking those fresh ingredients, try adding spices and herbs for flavouring.

7. Healthy eating habits It's not just what you eat that matters, but how you eat. Chew slowly, pause between mouthfuls, put your cutlery down for a moment... you'll digest your food better and probably end up eating less. Serve the amount you are going to eat onto an individual plate and don't go back for seconds.

8. More water... Drink more water. A litre and a half or two litres a day will help your digestion and it's good for the skin, too.

9. ...and less alcohol Alcohol contains lots of calories, so limit how much you drink. Make sure you have a few 'dry' days each week.

10. Stub out that ciggy! If you haven't yet given up, what are you waiting for?

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