Can weight loss help me keep my heart healthy?

September 26, 2013 - Health & Nutrition, Medical Advice

164403963Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the UK’s biggest killer, causing around 82,000 deaths each year. About one in five men and one in eight women die from the disease. Maintaining a healthy heart is not as hard as you may think – and weight loss can be part of the solution. Check out our five top tips to help make sure the beat goes on for you…

1. Get more sleep
People who sleep for less than five hours a night increase their chances of high blood pressure by up to 25% – according to a new study at the University of Columbia. ‘Sleep allows the heart to slow down and blood pressure to drop for a significant part of the day,’ says Dr James Gangwisch, who pioneered the study. ‘People who sleep for only short times significantly raise their average 24-hour blood pressure and heart rate.’

2. Watch your stress levels
Getting stressed really is bad for your heart. In a major trial at University College London, 514 men and women undertook stress tests and then levels of cortisol – a chemical produced by the body at times of stress and which causes arteries to narrow – were measured. Their arteries were also scanned for any signs of furring and narrowing. Those people who were stressed by the tests were twice as likely to have furred arteries as those who remained calm. Cardiologist Professor Avijit Lahiri said: ‘This is the first clear proof.’

3. Reduce your ‘overtime’
A recent study showed a 60% increase in the risk of heart problems for employees who regularly worked three or more hours of overtime a day.Cathy Ross, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘If we’re stuck in the office we’ve less time to relax, get a good night’s sleep, and take enough physical activity, all of which have been found to help reduce stress levels and protect against heart disease.’

4. Maintain a healthy weight
If you carry extra weight around your middle, you are at particular risk of developing coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. But the good news is that losing even small amounts of weight can benefit your health. Research shows that those who lose just 10% of their body weight can reduce their risk of a heart attack by up to a quarter. If you want to find out how LighterLife can help you lose weight, have a look at our website,

5. Have a healthy diet
Most of us already know that cutting down on saturated fat and salt helps to keep cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and prevent blood clots and fatty deposits from building up in the arteries. The British Heart Foundation also recommends two portions of oily fish per week, plenty of fruit and veg and starchy foods like wholegrain bread, pasta and rice.

One thought on “Can weight loss help me keep my heart healthy?

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