As well as being the month of St Valentine’s celebrations, February is National Heart Month here in the UK.
Set up by the British Heart Foundation, National Heart Month aims to bring awareness to a variety of heart conditions and those struggling with them – including angina, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmia), coronary heart disease, atrial fibrillation and congenital heart disease.
In support of this awareness campaign, we have pulled together some interesting facts about our hearts and some ideas for supporting heart health on a daily basis.
How well do you know your heart?
- The iconic heart shape as a symbol of love is traditionally thought to come from the silphium plant, which was used as an ancient form of birth control
- Your heart is thought to be roughly the size of your two hands clasped together
- Cardiac conduction is the name given to the electrical impulse system that allows your heart to beat
- A woman’s heart typically beats slightly faster than a man’s
- Your heart beats over 100,000 times per day
- Arne Larson was the first person to receive a pacemaker in 1958
- The smallest heart belongs to a fairy fly – a type of wasp
- The largest mammalian heart belongs to a blue whale
- 1.5 gallons of blood are pumped by your heart each minute
- Every cell in your body gets blood from your heart except your corneas
- The foetal heart beats twice as fast as an adult – at around 150 beats per minute
- In 1903, physiologist Willem Einthoven (1860-1927) invented the electrocardiograph, which measures the electric current which flows through the heart
Tips to support heart health
- Eat a plant-based diet – vegetarians have been shown to be 32% less likely to die from heart disease in a study by the University of Oxford. Increasing vegetable intake can mean that we eat less meat and processed foods, both of which are less heart-healthy options.
- Maintain balanced blood sugar – the sugar we eat moves from our gut into our blood to be carried around the body to be used for energy. If we eat too many sugar-laden carbs, our body will have to work harder to remove the excess sugar from the blood and put it into our cells. High levels of sugar in the blood can also cause damage to our blood vessels.
- Manage stress levels – the body produces cortisol in response to stress and cortisol works by increasing our blood sugar to be able to respond to the stress. Again, this increased blood sugar can impact the integrity of our blood vessels, particularly if the stress is ongoing.
- Exercise regularly to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping – aim for 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise each day, enough to make you slightly out of breath.
- Sleep well – sleeping soundly for 7-8 hours a night can help us to cope with stress during the day and to make healthy eating choices, as we do not feel the need to reach for sugar and caffeine to keep going.
- Avoid smoking and alcohol as much as possible.
- Maintain a healthy weight – supporting your body’s ability to digest and absorb nutrients and detoxify harmful substances can help to maintain a healthy weight – again, gut health is key.
Want to know more?
ProVen Probiotics aim to provide the best support for both you and your health. If you wish to know more about gut health please do not hesitate to call us on 01639 825107 or alternatively, learn more via our blogs or in-depth ProVen research.
ProVen Probiotics, Unit 2 Christchurch Road, Baglan Industrial Park, Port Talbot, SA12 7DJ. Tel: 01639 825107