There are five big killers in the UK today – heart disease, cancer, stroke, lung and liver disease, and they cause 150,000 deaths per year. Heart disease, however, accounts for nearly half of those, at 74,000 deaths per year. That is equal to about 200 people every, single day.

Even more frightening is that nearly 25 % of those deaths are in folks who are under the age of 75 and many of those are preventable.

There are many things one can do to lower their risk. Below are tips to keep a healthy heart:

No ifs, ands or butts allowed. Quitting smoking can lower risk as soon as the habit is stomped out, and the risk continues to lower over time. Existing damage to heart and blood vessels can also be reversed.

Look to the middle. Keeping one’s waistline trim lowers blood pressure and reduces blood lipid levels. It is important to maintain a healthy balance – intake (calories in) and output (calories out).

Make time for love. One can add pleasure to their life without increasing risk. Having sex has been shown to lower blood pressure.

Let the mind unwind. Working on crafts, sewing or even jigsaw puzzles helps relieve stress and give one’s heart a rest.

Create a recipe for success. Here are some heart-healthy foods that will reduce cholesterol and jump start metabolism: Blueberries, strawberries, soy products, flaxseed, apples, tomatoes, fresh vegetables, black beans, walnuts, almonds and fish such as tuna, salmon, tuna and sardines.

Dance like nobody’s watching. Dancing increases the heart rate while burning calories and is a fun way to work out.

Laughter really is good medicine. Studies have shown that laughter actually reduces stress to the lining of blood vessels. So go ahead – be the one with the crazy laugh and improve circulation at the same time.

Stretch instead of stress. Yoga has been proven to help the body relax and positively affect one’s heart rate. It also keeps the body more limber.

Toast to good health. Studies show that a moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages can actually raise good cholesterol (HDL), help prevent artery damage and even reduce the risk of blood clot formation.

Pass (on) the salt. Studies show that reducing salt intake will significantly lower the development of coronary heart disease.

Get a move on. Another of the important tips to keep your heart healthy is to simply get up and walk. Office workers and couch potatoes are at a higher risk of developing heart disease.

Let them eat (chocolate) cake. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help prevent heart disease and positively affect blood clotting.

Keep it clean. Doing household chores like vacuuming and mopping burns calories. Put on some music and whistle while you work.

Fitness can be fun. Try spending some free time bowling or skating.

Adopt a pet. Caring for a pet has been shown to improve both heart and lung function.

Eat breakfast – it really is the most important meal of the day. Remember to include whole grains and low fat. Only 30 % of your daily intake should include fat.

Remember tea time. Both green and black tea improve arterial health.

Healthy teeth equal a healthy heart. See your dentist regularly.?

Early detection is the key to prevention, and scheduling a consultation with a cardiologist is a critical first step. It is important to find a practice who believes in a patient-centred approach, such as the London Cardiovascular Clinic, where testing and treatment are personalised. And remember to follow the above tips to keep your heart healthy.

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