Now is a great time for a lifestyle rethink

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A HEALTHIER lifestyle will top many people’s new year resolutions.

It means those all-important small changes to your diet and activity levels can impact hugely on your heart and health for years to come.

Now is a perfect time to think about ditching those old habits and make a healthier lifestyle an integral part of your everyday life.

Today, with the help of national charity Heart Research UK, we look at how you can transform your life.

A spokesman for the charity asked: “Are you ready to take on the challenge, making this your turnaround year and setting yourself up for a healthier and happier future?

“Here’s how you can get set for 2015 and the rest of your life ahead with these simple resolutions for a new you.”

The healthy advice includes;

•Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables each day - remember, fresh, frozen, tinned and dried all count, as well as traditional salad items.

•Increase your fibre intake by choosing whole-grain bread and cereals, eating fruit and vegetables with their skins on where possible and using more beans and pulses.

•Oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel and fresh tuna are great sources of heart-friendly omega-3. Include at least one portion each week together with a second portion of white fish such as cod or haddock.

•Cut down on harmful cholesterol-raising saturated fats by reducing your intake of red meat, butter and full fat cheese and swap from whole milk to semi-skimmed or skimmed milk.

•Ditch the salt to keep a healthy blood pressure. Use tasty herbs and spices to cook with instead and remove the salt from the table. Limit processed foods which are also high in salt and check all your food labels for hidden salt.

•Drinking too much alcohol can put on the pounds as well as increase your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you do drink, limit alcohol intake to no more than 2-3 units a day if you’re a woman and 3-4 units a day for men.

•Engage in some form of moderate physical activity every day – a brisk walk at lunchtime, dancing, a game of tennis or football, a cycle ride or a run.

•If you smoke, stop. There’s no such thing as a healthy smoker and being smoke free is the single, biggest lifestyle factor that you can change for a healthier new you.

Anyone wanting more details, information and advice about healthy living should contact Heart Research UK on 0113 297 6206 or email