7 Simple Steps to a Healthy Heart

by BTM

Wed, 11 September 2019

7 Simple Steps to a Healthy Heart

With World Heart Day (29th September) just around the corner, there’s no better time to look at how you can improve your eating habits and lead a more heart-healthy life.

According to a study released by the School of Health and Environment at the Hamdan Bin Mohammad Smart University (HBMSU), approximately 36-37% of deaths in the UAE are caused by cardiovascular diseases. However, most cardiovascular diseases can be prevented by adopting simple lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, a healthier diet and cutting out alcohol and tobacco.  

Banin Shanine, Nutrition Manager at Fitness First, has a few tips to help keep your heart healthy: 

Portion control: To lead a heart healthy lifestyle, it is important to take into consideration portion control. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Use small plates or bowls to help regulate your portions and always avoid processed or sugary foods, as these foods can result in high cholesterol.

Minimise saturated fats: By reducing your intake of saturated fats, you can reduce your (LDL) cholesterol levels and cut your risk of cardiovascular disease. Saturated fats typically come from animal fats such as red meat, poultry and full-fat dairy products. 

Minimise simple carbohydrates: Stay away from simple carbs like cookies, sugary cereals, candy and soft drinks, as these types of foods increase the risk of inflammation and raise blood sugar levels. Instead, replace with fibre-rich foods to help stabilise blood sugar levels. 

Reduce sodium intake: Through reducing sodium intake in your meals, you can help prevent the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. Try making home-made meals such as soups and stews, as this can significantly decrease your salt intake. 

Consume heart friendly foods: Here is a list of foods which can be consumed to maximise your heart health: 

  • Leafy green vegetables: high in dietary nitrates, green vegetables reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness. 
  • Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats) such as fish, plant oils, avocados, nuts and seeds, help lower (LDL) cholesterol and systolic blood pressure. 
  • Seeds such as chia seeds and flax seeds are rife with fibre and omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce inflammation and increase rates of good (HDL) cholesterol. 

Exercise regularly: Regular exercise is a key factor towards preventing heart disease as it helps lower blood pressure, increases healthier cholesterol levels and ensures better blood sugar regulation. Try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day to help encourage the heart’s arteries to dilate seamlessly. 

SUPPLEMENTS: Here is a list of key supplements to help heart health: 

  • Omega 3: Omega 3 plays a very important role in protecting your heart from the bad cholesterol (LDL) and Triglyceride. It can also help to support an irregular heartbeat and slow the build up of fat plaque in the arteries. 
  • Vitamin D: Not only does Vitamin D help maintain bone density and boost brain function but it also decreases blood pressure, reduces inflammation and improves muscle function.
  • Magnesium: Essential for normal heart rhythm, magnesium also helps maintain electrolytes, such as potassium and calcium which our body needs to transport nerve messages and help with the contractions of the heart




Fitness First Middle East is one of the region’s leading health and fitness company, owned and operated by Landmark Group, a leading retail organisation in the Middle East and India, with over 59 clubs across 50 locations in the Middle East located in the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan. The brand offers world-class amenities including best in class equipment, free group exercise classes and personal training by internationally accredited fitness professionals.

Fitness First’s pipeline for the region includes a club in Nakheel Mall, Dubai Marina, Silicon Oasis and Ajman in the UAE; and Oasis Mall, Juffair, in Bahrain. Fitness First is committed to providing members with easy access to fitness through establishing new clubs across the Middle East.

Fitness First is also proud to bring the latest innovation in the fitness industry to its members including XFit, JUMP, 6D, TUFF, TRICLUB, Charge, Swim Academy, MYZONE and many more. As well as the best in house equipment such as Synrgy 360, Olympic weight lifting platforms, Wattbike, the revolutionary training system Escape & more.

Fitness First Middle East won four awards at the FIT Awards 2018, including Franchises Facility of the year (2000+ members) for its Mirdiff City Center club; Small Speciality / Boutique studio of the year for XFIT BOX; Rising Star of the Year was awarded to Ivan Pavlovic and Instructor of the Year went to Rio Nunga. Fitness First was also awarded the GCC Best Employer Award 2018 – Recognizing its efforts in producing leaders of change, leaders who are iconic and in retaining talent. Fitness First was also recently voted number 1 in the ‘What’s On! Abu Dhabi 2018 Awards in the Favourite Fitness Club category for its Marina Mall club. In 2017 Fitness First was awarded three business awards at the 2017 Fit Awards – this included Fitness Brand of the Year; Best Social Media Fitness Campaign and Ladies Only Facility of the year (Al Seef).

Fitness First is a global brand that originated in the UK. Backed by an experience of over 17 years, the fitness chain has grown into a network of over 380 clubs and one million members globally in more than 15 countries worldwide.