26/06/2018 16:50 BST | Updated 02/07/2018 09:52 BST

7 Surprising Ways To Have A Healthier Heart

Minimise your risk of heart disease with these less well-known tips.

Regular exercise and a healthy diet both help to keep your heart in good shape. Some of these more unusual suggestions will keep things ticking over nicely too!

  • 1 Up your magnesium
    Up your magnesium
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    The heart is a muscle - one that works tirelessly, without complaint, from when we were in the womb. Magnesium is a mineral that’s essential for muscle function and the electrical impulses that nerves connected to the heart must generate in order to stimulate it to beat. Luckily, magnesium is found in plenty of tasty day-to-day foods, such as green leafy veg, nuts and seeds and dark chocolate, so tuck in!
  • 2 Put the kettle on
    Put the kettle on
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    A recent study found that people drinking three to six cups of tea per day have a 45% lower risk of death from heart disease. Researchers aren’t yet sure whether these impressive results are because regular tea drinkers have a healthier lifestyle overall, but any excuse for a cuppa, we say! Although maybe hold the biscuits…
  • 3 Brush and floss
    Brush and floss
    Philips
    The link between poor oral health and heart disease has long been the subject of debate, but a study conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has shown that as gum health improves, the progression of atherosclerosis (narrowing of the arteries through the build-up of plaque) slows to a clinically significant degree. It’s thought the bacteria that cause gum disease also cause heart disease, so make looking after your pearly whites a daily priority – floss and brush twice a day, and schedule twice-yearly dental hygiene appointments. Get an electric toothbrush for maximum clean and if you hate using string floss, consider using a power flosser.
  • 4 Get a dog
    Get a dog
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    Studies show that people who own pooches are less stressed, more likely to take the recommended levels of exercise and may also have lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels - all of which reduces the risk of heart disease. However, researchers stress that getting a dog solely to reduce the risk of a heart attack is inadvisable – make sure your lifestyle works with a four-legged friend first.
  • 5 Sing!
    Sing!
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    Not only does a good old sing-along give the heart and lungs a proper workout, it lifts our spirits like nothing else (we recommend bellowing away to The Proclaimers ‘500 Miles’ if you’re feeling down in the dumps). Feeling lighter in mind and body lowers your blood pressure, and that’s good news for your ticker.
  • 6 Laugh with friends
    Laugh with friends
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    See above – many a misguided effort on the old karaoke machine has resulted in a belly full of laughs, and it might be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to boosting your heart health. Research suggests laughter can reduce stress hormones, reduce artery inflammation and increase HDL, or levels of ‘good’ cholesterol in the body. So make a daily chuckle high on your list of priorities.
  • 7 Ditch plastics
    Ditch plastics
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    As if you needed another reason to ditch plastic: a 2010 study found that people with higher levels of bisphenol-A (BPA) in their urine were more likely to have heart disease than those with lower levels. It’s worth noting, too, that scientists have long known that BPA mimics the effect of the hormone oestrogen in the body, fluctuations of which are associated with an irregular heartbeat, which can be distressing to experience.

Heart health is just one aspect of your wellbeing that is affected by your dental hygiene - and there are many more.

The new generation of electric toothbrushes such as Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean can remove up to seven times more plaque than a manual toothbrush, for up to 100% healthier gums and whiter teeth in just one week. Partner your Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush with a Sonicare AirFloss, an innovative, fast and hassle-free way to remove up to 99.9% of plaque (1) from hard-to-reach places in just 60 seconds using blasts of air and water or mouthwash and is proven to improve the gum health of 97% of users (2). With this unbeatable combination from Philips, plaque has nowhere to hide and you can enjoy fresh breath confidence.

1. From the treated areas; in a lab study, actual in-mouth results may vary
2. When used in conjunction with a manual toothbrush and anti-microbial mouth rinse in patients with mild to moderate gingivitis