Looking after your heart can be the key to a longer, healthier life.
But swapping indulgence for nutrition can be a challenge.
Heart and circulatory diseases are the biggest killer in the UK and US — responsible for a quarter of deaths each year.
Cardiologist Dr Ameet Bakhai has devised a lifestyle quiz to help indicate if you are taking care of your heart.
From your preferred potato to how much you exercise, the eight-question quiz will determine the effect your lifestyle choices are having on your heart.
Cardiologist Dr Ameet Bakhai has designed a lifestyle quiz to help indicate if you are taking care of your heart
For each question, choose which of answers A, B and C apply to you the most.
Dr Bakhai, of Spire Bushey Hospital in North London, who has been advising Healthspan on its Love Your Heart supplement range, said: ‘Heart issues can often get progressively worse, until one day you have a more complicated issue – that could have been avoided if we heeded the warning signs.
‘Heart issues can be connected to other things – you might consider not being able to run up two flights of stairs more of a lung condition or a lack of fitness or of weight gain, but there is a lot of overlap with coronary artery disease or heart valve problems or irregular heart rhythms.
‘So, looking after your heart health is essential and should be planned as a new year resolution every year.’
How many portions of fruit and vegetables do you eat per day?
A. 0-2 servings – I don’t really like them
B. 3-4 servings – though I could probably eat more if I tried
C. 5 or more servings per day – 1 can’t get enough of them
Which of the following do you eat the most?
A. Chips – delicious, especially with mayonnaise
B. Roast Potatoes – though I only have one or two and they’re made with olive oil rather than meat dripping
C. Boiled or Baked potatoes – and I often have super-healthy sweet potatoes, too
How often do you eat fresh fish?
A. I have deep-fried, battered fish and chips every week – I never buy fresh fish – it’s too difficult to prepare
B. Once or twice a week – usually pre-packed cod or other white fish – I’d love to cook more exotic fish meals but don’t know how
C. At least three times per week, especially oily fish like fresh sardines, mackerel or salmon. I always grill, poach or bake the fish, and never fry
When do you add salt to your food?
A. Both during cooking and at the table – it’s essential to bring out the flavour
B. Only during cooking – I’m trying to cut down
C. Hardly at all – I use fresh herbs for flavour and check labels for the salt content of bought foods
From your preferred potato, whether it’s fried, roasted or baked, to how much you exercise, the quiz will determine the affect your lifestyle choices are having on your heart
How much exercise do you take each week?
A. I sometimes stand at work and walk around when things are quiet
B. I joined a gym and go occasionally; I also try to walk or cycle at the weekends (if I’ve got the energy)
C. At least 30 minutes brisk exercise, five times a week, and often every day
How many units of alcohol do you drink per week?
A. Er, what’s a unit? Is half a bottle of wine every night OK?
B. 15 or more – But I’m intending to cut down
C. No more than 1 or 2 units a few nights a week
How overweight are you?
Why is heart health important?
Dr Bakhai claims just recognising that you need to look after your heart health is the first step.
The consultant suggests that, along with regular check-ups and screening, ‘we should all know our blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels.’
He added: ‘Plus, think about making key diet, exercise and lifestyle changes.
‘Our quiz will help guide you in the right direction.’
A. More than a stone – being cuddly suits my warm, bubbly personality!
B. Less than a stone – and I’m trying to lose it as I feel so tired all the time
C. I’m not overweight – I eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and always watch my weight.
How much do you smoke?
A. At least 20 cigarettes per day – my granddad smoked all his life and lived to the age of 92 so why worry?
B. I’ve switched to vaping as a less risky option and am trying to cut down
C. I don’t smoke at all – and avoid passive smoking, too
Your diet and lifestyle aren’t heart-healthy at all. Have a look at the C options to see where you might be going wrong.
If you haven’t had your blood pressure checked in the last year or two contact your surgery to ask how to arrange this during the current restrictions.
You know you could do better – and are already making improvements.
Healthy eating and exercise can lower your cholesterol level, reduce raised blood pressure, help you maintain a healthy weight and even prevent diabetes, as well as helping to keep your heart in good health.
You are taking all the right steps to help keep fit and healthy.
Keep it up so your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes, raised cholesterol levels, coronary heart disease and stroke in future years is significantly lower than average.