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Heart of the matter.

Yes they can be broken and burst with love. The heart is such an important part of the body and we really need to look after it. This blog has been inspired by a friend who is developing a wonderful website called which was launched in May. Being involved in the nutrition side of the site has inspired me to encourage you all to be heart healthy.

For a healthy heart there are three key aspects: nutrition, lifestyle and exercise, all of these areas are covered in the above link however today we are going to focus on nutrition, the key aspects are:

Reduced sugars
Modern western diets are very sugar based, especially when you consider that sugar is contained not only in biscuits, sweets and cakes – it is also contained within pasta, breads, rice, potatoes, crackers or any other form of carbohydrate. When sweet or starchy foods are eaten the sugar contained within is released into the blood stream. These excess sugars are damaging to health and damage proteins in the blood and blood vessels hence increasing your risk of diabetes and arterial damage.

Oily fish
Oily fish is natures saviour to our heart as it reduces clotting and cardiac arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), it also reduces LDL (bad) and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. Research has also shown that it can slightly reduce blood pressure – what more proof do we need, it’s wonderfully healthy, tastes great and as for our skin and hair, we will look amazing too!

Fruits and veg
The government say 5 portions a day (size of your clenched fist) however this is appropriate for base line health – for optimum health I recommend 10 portions a day. Seasonal fruits and vegetables consumed should be bought where possible, local and of a variety of colour.

Nuts and seeds for Omega 6
Contained within nuts & seeds are healthy fats such as omega 3’s which are required by the body to support a healthy heart, support cholesterol reduction, healthy brain function and a good immune system. Also within are essential fatty acids – essential to ingest these as the body does not produce them and therefore they must be obtained through our food. Flaxseeds are one of nature’s richest plant sources of Omega 3 which are so essential for health.

Water – 1.5 litres or 8 large glasses daily
We need to be having 6-8 large glasses or 1.5-2 litres of good quality water a day.

Modern diets contain too much salt or sodium and not enough potassium, which contributes greatly to increases in blood pressure. The Irish Heart foundation contributes this to rises in the incidents of stroke and heart attacks. Potassium is beneficial to heart health and top potassium foods include lentils, kidney beans, prune juice, tomato juice, chickpeas, bananas and avocados.

Look after your heart and the heart of your loved ones, spread the word.

Andrea Murray