When it comes to keeping our heart healthy and disease-free, an active lifestyle and a balanced diet are a must. Read along to know some effective ways to keep your heart healthy.

1.  Exercise

Regular exercise can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress buster.

2. Give up smoking

If you’re a smoker, quit. Smoking is one of the main causes of coronary heart disease. A year after giving up, your risk of a heart attack falls to about half that of a smoker.

3. Eat more fibre

Eat plenty of fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease – aim for at least 30g a day. Eat fibre from a variety of sources, such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

4. Cut down on salt

To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking. Watch out for high salt levels in ready-made foods. Adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day in total – that’s about one teaspoon.

5. Manage your weight

Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity.

6. Cut down on saturated fat

Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases your risk of heart disease. Choose leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy products like 1% fat milk over full-fat milk.

7. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables

Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They’re a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

8. Eat fish

Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon are a source of omega-3 fats, which can help protect against heart disease. Pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t have more than two portions of oily fish a week.

9. Drink less alcohol

Don’t forget alcohol contains calories. Try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.

10. Look after your mental health

There can be a greater risk of heart disease for people who have depression, are socially isolated or do not have good social support. Having a good social life with family and friends can help.

As we observe World Heart Day on September 29,  let’s take a pledge together to follow these steps to keep our hearts fighting fit and healthy.

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