Lifestyle mistakes can increase women’s risk of heart disease. Here are five everyday ways to help correct them
Don’t skip breakfast The first meal of the day is vital for kickstarting your metabolism. Studies show people who skip breakfast struggle to keep their weight down and tend to have a higher intake of calories, fat and sugar, consuming more unhealthy foods when hunger strikes. Start your day with a bowl of porridge or wholegrain cereal, which have been linked to healthier hearts.
Think of yourself It’s not just the kids who need a good diet – you do, too. Many women go to great lengths to make sure their children eat healthy meals and snacks, but pay little attention to what they eat and drink themselves.
Give up the full-fat latte Downing large, calorie dense lattes made with full-fat milk can give you more than just an energy hit. Full-fat dairy is rich in saturated fat, so switch to a regular-size coffee made with skimmed milk – or opt for antioxidant-rich green tea.
Break the daily wine habit Almost a third of us drink more than the recommended daily amount, often to de-stress. But women’s bodies can’t process alcohol as well as men – they tend to be smaller, plus they have lower levels of the enzyme that breaks down alcohol, so it stays in the body longer. Regularly consuming six units a day (two 250ml glasses of wine), for instance, means women have a 30% greater risk of developing CHD and are twice as likely to have high blood pressure. Find new ways to unwind at the end of the day – try yoga, a cup of chamomile tea or a long soak in the bath.
Sort your sleep routine Feeling tired can affect your eating and drinking habits, encouraging you to rely on sugary drinks and carb-rich snacks for energy. Tiredness also makes it easy to opt out of exercise. Develop a bedtime routine and make sure you get enough sleep to stay alert all day.
Coronary heart disease kills three times more women than breast cancer