February is National Heart Month and organizations and charities like the British Heart Foundation are asking everybody to pay attention to their hearts and start living healthier lifestyles.

In the UK, there are an estimated 7m people living with some form of heart disease and every 3 minutes someone in the UK suffers a heart attack of which around 30% are fatal.

Local health and fitness expert Donna Noble of The Noble Art of Yoga is keen for residents of Brixton to use February’s National Heart Month to start introducing some exercise and lifestyle changes and help prevent the spread of heart disease.

Donna says “Most people know someone or have themselves been directly affected by heart disease and the saddest part is a lot of times it is avoidable by changing lifestyle habits.”

“Keeping your heart healthy is the most important thing you can do to help prevent and manage heart disease.”

“A healthy diet reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and prevents weight gain which puts pressure on your heart, the introduction of a healthy diet also helps to prevent further worsening of existing heart disease and it’s NEVER too late to start eating healthily.”

To help prevent heart disease Donna has come up with a few changes to your lifestyle to make so you can take better care of your heart.

  1. Quit smoking- Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health, and the good news is that the risk to your heart health decreases significantly soon after you stop.
  1. Reduce salt/processed food- a lot of people believe that by cutting out table salt they’re reducing the amount of salt they’re consuming but in reality it is a small portion and most of the salt we eat comes from processed meat which contains huge levels of salt.
  1. Eat More Oily fish: Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines help against heart disease they’re a good source of vitamin D, protein, some B vitamins and selenium. It’s also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a type of fat that is good for our health.
  1. “The heart is the most important muscle and just a small amount of intense exercise will keep it functioning properly. Workouts as little as ten minutes a day can make a huge difference.”  A study published in the European Journal of Preventative Cardiology found that practising yoga had the same effect on reducing cardiovascular markers as other forms of exercise, like brisk walking or biking.
  1. Meditation and breathing exercises and stress management techniques are vital for preventing heart disease for reducing recurring cardiac problems.  Also consider acupuncture, which has been shown to help relax the myocardium and improve circulation.
  1. Moderate alcohol consumptiondrinking more than the recommended levels can have a harmful effect on your heart and general health.  It can cause abnormal heart rhythms, high blood pressure and damage your heart muscles.
  1. Maintain a healthy weightobesity and sedentary lifestyles are on the increase in the UK that contributes to increased risk of heart disease.
  1. Ask your health professional about herbs and nutritional supplements that may be useful in preventing and treating heart conditions: Garlic, Tumeric, Vitamin B12, onions and Gingko to name but a few.

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