Look After Your Heart - Healthy Heart Habits

From eating for your heart, to reducing stress, staying active and recognising the symptoms of a heart attack, we can all educate ourselves about what we can do to have a healthy heart.

Find out how to look after yourself and make simple adjustments to your habits in our guide below.

Of course, people with existing heart conditions, or who have a specific concern, should seek professional advice from their doctor!


Quit Smoking

If you smoke, stopping smoking is the biggest benefit you can make to your health, including your heart health.

Get support from the NHS if you want to stop smoking and find out about your local Stop Smoking Service.


Get Your Moves On!

Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and activity per week, as we do here on Active Teams! 

Read our 10 Tips For Leading A More Active life >>


Five a Day

Eat plenty of fruit, veg and whole grains. Eating your five a day has been shown to reduce the chances of heart disease. Leafy greens, such as spinach and kale, are high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants which help reduce blood pressure. Berries, packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, help reduce heart disease risk. Nuts, especially almonds and walnuts, contain healthy fats, fibre, and vitamins, supporting heart health. And whole grains like oats and quinoa, which are high in fibre, can help to lower cholesterol levels.

Go for foods which contain healthy, unsaturated fats. These include avocados, nuts and seeds. Use healthy oils for cooking, like olive, sunflower, peanut and soybean oil, as these foods can help to lower cholesterol.  


Eat Well

Choose plant-based protein where possible, like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds, as well as fish and seafood. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon and flaxseeds, are excellent for heart health too due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Choose dairy products like yoghurt and milks which don’t have added sugar and limit your intake of red meat.

Incorporating these heart-healthy foods into your diet can significantly benefit your cardiovascular wellness! But also (you knew it was coming, didn’t you?) reducing your intake of highly processed and unhealthy foods which are high in sugar, salt and saturated fats, such as cakes, biscuits, chips, chocolate, sugary drinks and takeaways, will help too. Why not try using herbs or lemon juice to help flavour your food instead of salt?


Manage Your Weight

If you struggle to keep your weight and waist circumference in a healthy range, focusing on small, long-term changes can help, such as reducing portion sizes. The British heart Foundation tells us that 'Waist circumference is a good measure of fat around your middle' and offers information on Why Your Waist Size Matters.

The NHS advises not to try lots of things at once to lose weight. You can get more information and advice through their Tips To Help You Lose Weight


Look After Yourself

Making sure that you aren’t experiencing high levels of stress for extended periods of time, and are getting enough rest and sleep, are also vital to having a healthy heart.

Being physically active is the NHS’ number one recommendation for reducing stress. It’s also on the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ list of Tips To Help You Sleep Better, along with other practical suggestions.


Look After Your Teeth!

Many people will be surprised that there is a real link between your oral hygiene and your heart health.

Poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease due to inflammation that may affect the arteries. Regular dental care and maintaining good oral health practices, such as brushing and flossing, are essential for reducing the risk of heart-related problems. If you have any concerns seek professional advice from your doctor or dentist.


Seek Medical Support Where Appropriate

It’s important to inform doctors if you have a family history of cardiovascular disease, and to mention it if you have a personal history of diabetes or high blood pressure during pregnancy. Working with your doctor to reduce high blood pressure or cholesterol, if you have those conditions, is important too.

People over 40 may be invited to a free NHS Health Check. Attending one will help you understand your cardiovascular risk levels and gain support if needed.  And you can also Calculate Your Heart Age if you want a better idea of how healthy your heart is.

How to Save a Life


Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The NHS tells us to watch out for the following signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain – a feeling of pressure or tightness across the chest
  • Pain spreading from the chest and into arms, the jaw, back and stomach
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling or being sick
  • An overwhelming feeling of anxiety, similar to a panic attack
  • Coughing or wheezing

Learn CPR in 15 Minutes

Many of us will witness a cardiac arrest in our lifetime. Be ready for that day with RevivR, a fast, free and easy-to-use online training course from the British Heart Foundation.

In just 15 minutes, you can learn how to save a life and receive your very own CPR certificate. It couldn’t be simpler – you just need your mobile phone or tablet and a cushion to practise on.

Learn CPR In 15 Minutes >>

Find Out More

Learn how Active Teams boosts workplace health and performance using 'The Miracle Cure' of activity.