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Have A Happy, Healthy Heart

One in three people in Scotland suffers from heart problems. If you are overweight, your risk of developing problems is 30% higher than people who are not over weight and the bigger you are, the bigger the risk! Your heart has to work harder if you are carrying too much weight and it can cause shortness of breath and tiredness. If you lose weight and you are physically active, you lower the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke by 35%. So, here's some tips to make sure you have a happy, healthy heart!
Choose a wide variety of foods from all the different food groups – 
Fruit and veg in many colours – at least 5-a-day
Choose low-fat dairy produce
Switch to whole grain breads, cereals, pasta and rice
Choose lean meats, fish or vegetarian alternatives
Salt sense
Keep salty foods to a minimum and try to reduce the amount you add when cooking or at the table. Give reduced-salt stock cubes a try and add only the minimum amount of soy sauce to oriental dishes.  Too much salt may make you retain excess fluid, which can show up as a weight gain on the scales.
High fibre foods will keep your digestive tract in good shape – choose wholegrain breads, cereals, pasta and rice wherever possible.  Fruits, vegetables, oats, pulses and dried fruit are also high in fibre.  Many of these foods release their energy more slowly than their white or processed counterparts and will help keep you satisfied for longer.
Try to make tomorrow’s breakfast healthier – add fruit or vegetables and grill rather than fry!
Heart healthy fish
Aim to eat two portions of fish a week with one being an oily type such as salmon, sardines, pilchards or mackerel.  The omega 3 essential fatty acids they contain are good for your heart – and your brain!  (Vegetarians can find similar, but not quite as potent, omega 3 fats in linseeds/flaxseeds, rapeseed oil, soya beans and walnuts and various products to which it has been added.)
Take the next snack you plan to have and swap it for something healthier
Swap high sugar drinks for sparkling water with a slice of lemon. 
Fruit and veg
Increase the amount you eat of both. Try to add vegetables to every meal.
Check your portion size. The NHS website has guidelines on what a healthy portion actually is. A portion of meat should be the size of your fist  and two thirds of your plate should be filled with vegetables!
Healthy hearts love exercise. Commit to one more way to increase your level of physical activity. It’s recommended that adults [under 65] get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a week but it can be taken in 15 or 30 minute chunks!
Red light
Trim all visible fat, especially from red meat, as it contains a lot of “bad for you” saturated fat.  Try not to have more than about 500g cooked weight (about 750g raw weight) red or processed meats in a week.  Roughly speaking that’s about 5-6 servings (main meal servings could be a bit larger if breakfast and quick meal servings are smaller).  Avoid processed meats if you can, but if not, aim to cut down.
Sweet tooth
If you’ve saved Checks for a favourite sweet treat, go ahead and enjoy!  Be a little cautious though that you are not having too many sugary foods instead of more nutritious foods.  Protect your teeth by not having too many “added sugar” foods between meals.
A little alcohol may even be beneficial and won’t prevent you from losing weight – provided you have enough Checks to spend! 
Keep in mind health recommendations that women should not regularly have more than 2 units a day and men should not regularly have more than 3.  It is also recommended that you have some days a week alcohol-free and should avoid binge drinking. For more info: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/ 
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