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Never give a second thought to heart health? Discover why that has to change.

Posted by Sunsweet - Thursday, February 04, 2016

Although the official stats around heart disease are sobering – it's the leading cause of death worldwide, after all - there are some simple steps that you can take, around things like diet and exercise and stress-management, to help to effect positive change. Do your heart good, this February, with a helping hand from Sunsweet.

Valentine's Day. It's the perfect excuse to give a little thought to the health of our hearts. But as delightful as all the lovey-dovey stuff is, just for the moment, we're not talking about our hearts in a romantic sort of way. Because the stats around heart health - from internationally-respected organisations like the British Heart Foundation – are sobering.

  • Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
  • Cardiovascular disease causes more than a quarter of all UK deaths.

Heart disease – the risk factors

Risk factors for heart problems include diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol levels and what the British Heart Foundation refer to as 'modifiable risk factors', these are things like physical inactivity and poor diet. Stats from the British Heart Foundation claim that, in the UK:

  • 25% of adults are obese.
  • 50% of women don't get enough exercise.
  • And just 25% of adults manage to get their 5-a-day of fruit and veg.

The organisation undertakes research into the effects of stress, too. And although it isn't necessarily a direct risk factor for heart disease, the coping mechanisms that many of us choose to counter stress – things like skipping exercise and becoming more sedentary in our daily routines, eating foods that are unhealthy in a bid to comfort ourselves and drinking too much alcohol or smoking – just might be.

The benefits of prunes

Our lifestyle, including diet, exercise and the way that we handle stress, has a fundamental impact on our wellbeing, both physically and emotionally. And so a common-sense attitude towards health – like choosing to eat more healthily, more of the time – is really important. A nutritious contribution to a healthy and balanced diet, and a tasty step towards 5-a-day, Californian prunes are sweet, super-tasty and high in fibre. But did you know that they may have heart-health boosting properties, too?

  • Prunes are high in potassium, which supports normal blood pressure.
  • Prunes are naturally saturated-fat-free and reducing the consumption of saturated fat helps to maintain normal blood cholesterol levels.
  • Prunes are a source of vitamin K, which contributes to normal blood clotting.

You can check out a more comprehensive list of the health benefits of prunes, here :

Try our trio of health-tricks

When the going gets tough and the motivation for sticking to healthy habits disappears, it can be helpful to some health-tricks up your sleeve.

  • A walk and talk with a friend means fresh air and exercise, an opportunity to let off steam and rather conveniently, put some distance between you and unhealthy temptations.
  • Build-up a repertoire of nutritious and quick-to-prepare recipes. Our website is an excellent resource. Our Crispy Tofu Tandoori with Prune Sauce , for example, will limit the lure of the Indian takeaway menu
  • Create a list of treats for when you really need to up the feel-good factor. Whether it's dimming the lights, popping on some candles and relaxing in front of the fire. Soothing your body – and mind - in a warm, scented bath. Or enjoying a slice of damn-fine chocolate cake. Because, at the end of the day, just a little of what you fancy may do your heart the world of good!

Please Note: Prunes are good for digestion and help keep you regular, when 100g are eaten as part of a varied and balanced diet and an active lifestyle. Always consult a GP if you have any health concerns.