In order for them to have a healthy and happy childhood and adult life, we need to teach our children when they are young about the importance of looking after their heart. In light of Heart Month this February we’ve come up with some ideas on how we can help our children look after their hearts.
They’re all really easy and cost-effective to do so you can get started right away!
1. 5-a-day keeps heart disease away!
It’s a general health rule and we’ve all heard it one hundred times before, but encouraging your children to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day will really help to keep their heart healthy. You could add some chopped fruit to their breakfast choice and try to have at least one portion of veg with dinner.
2. Eat more fibre
Fibre plays an essential part in a healthy diet. It not only lowers the risk of heart disease but it also lowers the risk of diabetes. To get more fibre, try swapping white bread for wholemeal bread and white rice for brown rice. Other foods that are packed with fibre include peas, sweetcorn, broccoli and whole-wheat cereals. The NHS recommends that children between two and five years old should eat around 15g of fibre every day.
3. Get active
Being active is not only good for the heart but it’s also good for the lungs, general well-being and building up the immune system too. Your children should be doing around 30 minutes of exercise a day, whether that’s walking to school or going to the park for an hour – even a game of catch in the garden.
4. Drink more water
Drinking plenty of water allows the heart to pump more blood around the body. This prevents the heart from having to work as hard which then keeps it in a healthy condition. If your little ones don’t like drinking water (this is not unusual in both children and adults) then try adding in a piece of fruit to give the water a little more flavour. You should definitely avoid giving your children fizzy drinks and drinks high in sugar – as this will affect their heart, teeth and health!
5. Sleep well
A good night’s sleep is important for us all, but getting your children into a good sleeping routine while they are young could help them sleep better in adult life. Sleeping well could then prevent the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease as they get older. Not only is a good night’s sleep good for the heart, it also improves concentration levels and behaviour.
All of the above are really easy to do and they are all things that we should be teaching our children already. The earlier that your children get into the routine of sleeping well, being healthy and being active, the more likely they are to continue these routines as they get older.
Let us know on social media if you have any other ideas on how to look after your heart!