Nurturing Heart Health: The Power of Diet and Lifestyle

February is ‘Heart Health Month’ in America but we wanted to borrow this hot topic from our friends over the pond.

Let’s take a deep dive into how we can show this vital organ some love with positive lifestyle choices.  

As the saying goes, "You are what you eat," and when it comes to heart health, this rings truer than ever. Let's explore the specific ways in which our daily habits from food choices to activity levels can either nourish or harm our hearts;


Nutrient-Rich Diets

The cornerstone of heart-healthy living is a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet. Opting for whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure, managing cholesterol levels, and reducing inflammation– key factors in preventing heart disease.

If you’re a fan of seasonal eating, here are a few of our favourite antioxidant heroes for the winter season:

Beetroot, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celeriac, Chicory, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Leeks, Mushrooms, Onions, Parsnips, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Squash, Swedes

So there’s no need to be short of culinary inspiration with that anti-inflammatory line up!  


Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These essential fats, found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel play a crucial role in heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower triglyceride levels, decrease blood clotting, and reduce inflammation. Regular consumption of these heart-protective fats can contribute to a lower risk of coronary heart disease.

If you’re not a fan of fish, there are so many other sources of Omega 3 to incorporate into your diet including chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, spinach and sprouts.

Many people also choose to take Omega 3 supplements to ensure their levels are sufficient to gain the potential benefits.


Limiting Saturated and Trans Fats

On the flip side, saturated and trans fats, commonly found in processed foods, fried items, and certain oils, can elevate cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease.

Choosing healthier fats, such as those from olive oil and avocados, can make a significant difference in heart health. Reading food labels and being mindful of hidden trans fats is crucial in maintaining a heart-healthy diet.


Maintaining a Healthy Weight

It’s well known that obesity greatly increases the risk of many chronic diseases. The link is clear between obesity and the likelihood of developing and dying from heart disease.

For so many reasons, we should try and keep our BMI within the healthy range. This can be easier said than done, but a good start is to start increasing our step count, track calories and seeking nutritional advice. Dropping those excess pounds will reap huge rewards for our heart health, energy levels and mood!


Mindful Eating

In our fast-paced lives, we are often guilty of eating on autopilot. From ready meals to high calorie crisps and snacks, the modern culinary landscape is not conducive to heart health.

Cultivating mindful eating habits can deliver significant positive change. Taking the time to savour each bite, recognising hunger and fullness cues, and avoiding distractions like screens during meals can lead to better food choices and improved digestion. Mindful eating promotes a healthy relationship with food, reducing the likelihood of overeating and subsequent weight gain.


Regular Physical Activity

A sedentary lifestyle is a known risk factor for heart disease. Regular exercise, whether it's brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or other forms of aerobic activity, strengthens the heart muscle, improves blood circulation, and helps manage weight.

Additionally, physical activity contributes to better stress management – a key factor in heart health. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week to keep your heart in top shape.

If you’re not an avid gym goer, don’t despair. Why not meet a friend for a walk and a coffee to go, instead of sitting in your regular coffee shop corner? Our mantra is ‘balance’ rather than unsustainable changes. Small alterations to our routine add up and impact our health in so many ways.


Stress Management and Sleep

Chronic stress and inadequate sleep can take a toll on heart health. High stress levels trigger the release of hormones such as cortisol that can contribute to inflammation and high blood pressure.

Cortisol has also been shown to cause weight gain, another risk factor!

Prioritising stress management techniques, such as meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, can have a profound impact on heart health. Most importantly, find what helps YOU feel relaxed and de-stressed as we are all different. For some people, going for a jog is the ultimate stress buster, while others may love to get lost in a book or in conversation with a loved one. If we choose activities that we genuinely enjoy, they will be more impactful.

Ensuring adequate and quality sleep allows the body to repair and regenerate, supporting overall cardiovascular well-being.

Try and eliminate all your barriers to quality sleep. Screen time after 9pm, caffeine after lunchtime and too much light in your bedroom can all negatively impact your shut-eye.

Money spent on a good quality mattress is a big investment in your health and wellbeing – so don’t feel guilty for splashing out. Your heart will thank you for it!


The Usual Suspects

It should come as no surprise that alcohol and smoking are not your friends when it comes to health.

However, we cannot stress enough how important it is to stop smoking altogether if you want a healthy heart!

Smokers are 2-4 times more likely to develop heart disease than non-smokers, and it is estimated that 36%of first heart attacks are attributable to smoking.

Smoking doubles your risk of stroke and puts you in line to develop chronic diseases such as COPD and hypertension.

Alcohol is also damaging to our tickers! There is a very clear link between regularly drinking too much alcohol and having high blood pressure. Over time, high blood pressure(hypertension) puts strain on the heart muscle and can lead to cardiovascular disease which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

While it's true that the occasional glass of red wine has some heart health benefits due to resveratrol, overall they are vasty outweighed by the risks.



It’s clear that heart health is key to longevity as well as vitality in our day to day lives. Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally, which should inspire us to take action and make as many changes within our control as possible.

Protecting our heart takes a multi factorial approach. The changes we have discussed will be far reaching, improving our weight management, stress levels and overall wellbeing. All happy side effects to showing our hearts a little more love!



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