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Valentines Month - let's look at Heart Health

As it is February and everything has gone all hearts and flowers in the shops, I thought that I would focus on the theme of #hearthealth

Nutrition and our heart. As with many things, nutrition has a role to play in contributing to the good and bad elements of our #lifestyle which can influence our health. This doesn't mean that we have to miss eating nice foods! I have created some 'heart healthy recipes' take a look: -

I've included a Watermelon Gin Fizz, partly due to my love of gin but also to highlight some health benefits of watermelon! Not only does the watermelon have #cardiovascular benefits as it contains #Lycopene which can potentially support blood pressure and cholesterol.

Watermelon may also increase #nitric#oxide in the body, this helps your #blood#vessels expand. In terms of feeling all ‘#loved up’ watermelon also helps the body to produce #Oxytocin - this is often referred to as the #love hormone’ as it is associated with feelings of intimacy.

Heart Health Facts

For this blog I just wanted to focus on some of the statistics - some of these were quite alarming, even to me and I spend a lot of time looking at health statistics!

  • Every 8 minutes someone in the UK dies from coronary heart disease

  • CHD (Coronary Heart Disease) kills twice as many women each year as Breast Cancer

  • CHD is a leading cause of death worldwide

  • In the UK, one in seven men and one in twelve women die from coronary heart disease

  • The annual healthcare cost of heart and circulatory disease is £9billion

t’s just some of the shocking statistics I found whilst researching for this month. I knew from the research on my book that some children are displaying the health characteristics of CVD whish in itself is shocking and terrifying but as we have seen with the increase in Type 2 Diabetes in children (40% in recent years) children are capable of getting what’s previously been considered adult conditions.

The answer, perhaps is why?

What is it about what we do today that is so damaging to our health, particularly as surely now we are more aware of what’s good and bad for us? Well if we consider how many of the modifiable factors we ‘get wrong’ perhaps it isn’t surprising?

"The modifiable risk factors for the prevention of coronary heart disease are: - Smoking, inactivity, obesity, diet, excess alcohol, stress, high cholesterol, hypertension and type 2 diabetes”

“In fact, when it comes to diabetes – adults with Type 2 Diabetes are 2-3 times more likely to develop heart and circulatory diseases and are nearly twice as likely to die from heart disease or stroke as those without diabetes.”

British Heart Foundation

Type 2 Diabetes

I still find that on the whole people have quite a terrifyingly relaxed attitude towards #Type2 #Diabetes, not really taking action until the final warning stages and sometimes even then just thinking that the medication will do the job, aside from the links with #CVD, Type 2 #Diabetes is a horrible disease and one that with #lifestyle changes can largely be avoided!

The last thing I want to highlight in this introduction though is activity and of course #inactivity!

Not moving is dangerous!

The World Health Organization believes that more than 60% of the global population is not sufficiently active. If you are physically active you will increase your #lifespan, regardless of any adverse #inherited factors. Physical activity, at any age, protects against a multitude of #chronic #health problems including many forms of cardiovascular disease.

Studies show that doing more than 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate physical activity every week or an hour of vigorous #physical activity every day will reduce your risk of #coronary heart disease by about 30%.

A middle-aged woman doing less than one hour of #exercise per week doubles her risk of dying from a cardiovascular event compared to a physically active woman of the same age.

Whilst we mention women let’s not forget that for females during and after the #menopause the risk of getting coronary heart disease and other circulatory conditions rises. At this time a woman’s body will produce less #oestrogen than it used to. Oestrogen helps to protect different parts of the body, including the heart and blood vessels.

This could possibly read as quite a depressing tale but my aim is to highlight what could potentially be a silent killer/ticking time bomb and what we can do, even with an existing CVD condition (perhaps even more importantly).

Making a change at any time is better than no change at all. The heart is a muscle and like any muscle it strengthens with exercise and gets weaker with inactivity.

Check out the social media this month for some fun heart facts and some foods to support cardiovascular health.

Louise Mercieca

Nutritional Therapist

Personal Trainer

Early Years Nutrition Consultant

Award-winning Author

Food & Health Writer

Presenter on Early Years TV Food

Keynote speaker

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