Looking after your heart doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, you can start first thing in the morning. Lowering the amount of saturated fat in your breakfast is one way to reduce your risk of heart disease. Too much fat, particularly saturated fats can increase the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol in your blood. This can cause your arteries to narrow, restrict blood flow and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Instead of a greasy fry-up, opt for something nutritious such as scrambled eggs, a bowl of wholegrain cereal with semi-skimmed milk or wholegrain toast.
Whether you have breakfast at home, on the go or at work, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to fatty fast foods. When eating on the go, opt for fruit, yoghurt drinks and wholegrain cereals rich in fibre for a quick healthy breakfast. If you don’t have time to eat at home, why not rally up some colleagues and fly the flag for healthy eating by arranging an early morning breakfast club.
As the morning goes by, a brimming inbox or looming deadlines can cause your stress levels to soar. Feeling the strain at work has been linked to high blood pressure, so it’s a good idea to try some simple stress busting techniques. Have a go at prioritising your workload with a to-do list. When making your list, leave extra time to allow for overruns and delays. Break your list up into smaller, manageable chunks and delegate when you can. If you still feel stressed, set a few minutes aside to tell your manager how you’re feeling.
When eating lunch, try to keep salty foods to a minimum. Reducing your salt intake will help to lower your risk of high blood pressure, stroke and coronary heart disease. Foods high in fibre have also been shown to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which are both risk factors for coronary heart disease. Opt for wholegrain bread, brown rice, brown pasta and vegetables wherever possible. In particular, beans and lentils release their energy slowly, so may help to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.
If you face plummeting productivity levels after lunch, take a break from your desk and make a healthy drink to help you recharge. Some research suggests that green and black tea may have blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering properties. However, more research needs to be done to confirm the benefits of tea for your heart. What we do know is that it’s important to drink enough fluids. Aim for between six to eight glasses, cups or mugs of fluid each day – tea and coffee count as well as water. Beat dehydration by keeping a glass at your desk.
Clocking off time? Even though the working day has come to an end, you can still continue to look after your heart as you head home. Try and stay active on your commute home, even if you just get off the bus one stop earlier than usual. Regular exercise can help to keep your heart healthy by relieving stress and reducing your blood pressure. Why not download our new Ground Miles app to keep you moving through the working week and beyond.
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