Five ways to keep your heart healthy
Marking World Heart Day this September 29th, Alexandra Clark, Registered Nutritionist at Slimming World, says losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease and can also help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are both associated with increased risk.
“Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight can significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease and can also help reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are both associated with increased risk.
Eating more healthily and getting more active are known to improve heart health yet we know changing habits that have formed over years - sometimes decades - takes time.
The in-depth support and encouragement shared at our weekly Slimming World groups is what helps our members to make long term behaviour changes.
Our programme is built on a deep understanding of how people with a weight problem feel, coupled with a healthy eating plan based on the science of energy density and satiety — a powerful combination,” says Alex.
Alexandra Clark’s five ways to keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk of developing heart disease.
1. Manage your weight. Being a healthy weight is one of the key things you can do to support your heart health and losing just 5% of your body weight can reduce the risk of heart disease.
2. Limit salt intake. Eating too much salt can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which in turn is a risk factor for heart disease. Cooking from scratch and checking salt levels on labels (adults are recommended no more than 6g of salt a day) can help to reduce salt intake.
3. Cut down on unhealthy fat. High intakes of saturated fat (for example fatty meats, butter, cakes, pastries) can lead to high cholesterol levels and weight gain, so we’re advised to reduce our intake of these, while including more omega 3 fats (found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, plus walnuts and linseed) can be beneficial for heart health.
4. Fill up on fibre. As well as keeping our digestive systems working well, fibre can help with satisfying our appetite (helping with weight management), plus some fibre-containing foods are particularly good for our cholesterol levels, such as oats, beans, peas and lentils.
5. Get active! Whether you’re not yet active or already exercising regularly, moving more comes with a whole host of benefits and many are linked to a healthy heart, including a lower risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Getting active in any way you fancy is beneficial – whether you get outdoors for a walk or cycle, pop to the gym for a swim or exercise class or keep on top of the housework or gardening at home, it all counts!
Slimming World was founded by Margaret Miles-Bramwell OBE in Derbyshire in 1969 and has become the UK and Ireland’s leading weight loss organisation with more people choosing to attend a Slimming World group each week than any other weight loss programme. We support hundreds of thousands of people, both in our groups and online, to lose weight and to adopt new habits to stay slim for life.
Over the years our founding principles haven’t changed:
· Our unique programme is based on a powerfully motivating support system called IMAGE (Individual Motivation and Group Experience) Therapy. Underpinned by a deep understanding of the psychology of overweight people, and incorporating the most effective sustainable behaviour change techniques, IMAGE Therapy is designed to inspire and motivate slimmers to make positive changes and to develop new, healthier habits around food and activity.
· Food Optimising is our healthy eating plan, based on the liberating concept of Free Food. We encourage our members to fill up on those foods that are naturally lower in energy density (calories per gram) and also highly satisfying while limiting foods that are highest in fat and sugar and are less satisfying, so they lose weight without ever feeling hungry or deprived and without having to weigh, measure or count everything they eat.
· Our activity support programme, Body Magic helps members to overcome any barriers around activity. Members choose when to start and they set the pace, finding activities they genuinely enjoy, until regular physical activity becomes an intrinsic part of their daily routine.
At the heart of everything we do lies our passion for treating every member with genuine care, empathy and respect.
We’re proud to work with the NHS, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), The Royal College of Midwives and others to help shape the future of weight management in the UK and Ireland.