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HEALTH: Healthy heart tips and why we need to know about insulin

By Hector MacKenzie

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Fizzy, sugar-loaded drinks should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether.
Fizzy, sugar-loaded drinks should be kept to a minimum or avoided altogether.

Canadian Scientist Frederick Banting, who discovered insulin, was born in November.

Insulin is an important hormone that allows sugar to move from our blood, after digesting food, into our muscles and fat cells to be either burned or stored.

Diabetes is the name we give to the disease related to problems with our insulin. Whilst some types of diabetes are caused by factors out of our control, Type 2 Diabetes can usually be prevented in younger individuals by adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What’s more, most of the lifestyle actions we can take to limit our diabetes risk will also help to improve our heart health.

With this in mind, here are some tips for doing just that:

Eat more Fibre

Fibre can not only help to reduce cholesterol levels but also helps to slow down how quickly our blood sugar levels increase. Try and swap white pasta and bread for wholegrain options, eat more fruit and vegetables, and snack on unsalted nuts and seeds.

Create Activity Opportunities

Staying active is one of the most effective ways to maintain our weight and lower blood pressure. Consider how you can incorporate a minimum of one ‘activity opportunity’ every day, whether it’s walking the dog, cleaning your house, or dusting off your old bike. Remember to keep it fresh and do something you enjoy!

The foods we choose can have a huge impact on our health.
The foods we choose can have a huge impact on our health.

Take the five per cent Challenge

Reducing our bodyweight by more than 5 per cent is an effective way to positively manage our future health, however any weight loss is beneficial, so start small and build on your success! Remember to set a goal over a realistic timeframe: 0.5-2lb per week is sustainable.

Know Your Numbers

Eating excessive amounts of sugar over many years can be harmful to our health. Try and opt for foods with less than 5g of sugar per 100g most of the time, and limit high sugar foods such as fizzy drinks and sweets to less than twice per week.

To help keep your heart healthy, why not try out some of the Healthy Heart recipes from our website: https://heartresearch.org.uk/heart-research-uk-recipes-2/

Or have a look through theHealthy Heart cookbook filled with recipes from top chefs, celebrities and food bloggers:


Heart Research UK

Heart Research UK is the charity dedicated to your heart. They inspire and invest in pioneering medical research, ground-breaking training and education, and in communities to improve their heart health for themselves. For over 50 years they have driven advancements in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease to benefit patients as soon as possible.

In the last 10 years, Heart Research UK has funded over £10.2m in medical research in hospitals and universities across the UK, as well as £2.2m on innovative community-based lifestyle projects to improve the heart health of the nation.

If you’d like to support Heart Research UK’s work into the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease, please visit www.heartresearch.org.uk for inspiration on how you could help.

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