A Healthy Heart

A healthy heart & circulation means a healthy lifestyle

It’s all common sense really. When you eat well and stay active, stick to a good weight and cut down on alcohol and smoking, you won’t only feel better and have more life and energy… you’ll also be doing your heart and circulation a big favour too.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet

It’s the first step towards keeping your heart in good shape. The idea of a balanced diet is to include foods in the right proportions, so:

  • Eat less salt - no more than 6g a day. Take care with convenience foods as these often have a high salt content. Reducing your salt intake can lower your blood pressure.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables - at least five portions a day. Research estimates that if we all ate the recommended minimum of five portions a day, 7,000 lives could be saved in the UK from coronary heart disease and 3,400 from stroke.
  • Reduce your fat intake - especially saturated fat. Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off any visible fat; bake, grill or steam foods instead of frying them; and choose low-fat dairy products like skimmed milk. This can help reduce your levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol.
  • Eat more fish - at least two portions a week, one of which should be an oily fish such as mackerel or salmon. Women of child-bearing age should aim for two portions of oily fish a week, and up to four portions a week for men and older women. Oily fish contains omega 3 which helps to regulate your cholesterol levels. You may also wish to consider an omega 3 supplement*.
*Speak to your pharmacist first if you already take any medicines or supplements. Always read the label. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should consult their doctor before taking a supplement.
Get plenty of exercise

Regular exercise can improve the condition of the heart muscle and lower your blood pressure. The current recommendation for adults is at least 150 minutes (that’s five 30-minute sessions) of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, combined with two sessions of muscle-strengthening exercise.

What do we mean by moderate exercise? It’s any activity that makes you feel warm and slightly out of breath, like a brisk walk. Why not try using the Lloydspharmacy Watch and Heart Rate Monitor to check your heart rate while you’re exercising.

If you’re not currently active and have any health concerns, or you’re over 65 years of age, make sure you talk to your GP before starting on a new exercise regime. If you’re less mobile even chair exercises available from Age UK can help.

Keep to a healthy weight

If you’re overweight, losing weight can reduce your blood pressure. Even relatively small amounts of weight loss such as 5-10% may make a significant difference. If you find it difficult to lose weight, talk to our pharmacy team about al the advice and support you can get as part of the Lloydspharmacy Weight Loss Service.

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Cut down on your alcohol intake

Men should have no more than 3-4 units a day (up to 21 units a week) and women should have no more than 2-3 units a day (up to 14 units a week). It’s also advised to have at least two alcohol-free days a week.

Quit smoking
If you’re a smoker, you’re almost twice as likely to have a heart attack as a non-smoker. With the right advice, support and products, you’ll be much more likely to succeed in your quit attempt, so ask your pharmacy team for more information about the Lloydspharmacy Stop Smoking Service.

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Improve your circulation

You may also want to try Circulation Boosters;an innovative, medically certified device that may help to improve circulation in healthy people, ease tired and aching legs, and reduce swelling in the feet and ankles.

Cardiovascular Disease
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