Have a heart

September is Heart Month

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) wants all people in South Africa to #HaveHeart this Heart Awareness Month by showing you care: for yourself, your families and for South Africa by not letting heart disease win.

Eating a balanced diet is an important part of maintaining a healthy heart. Having a healthy body and heart can help you feel your best. It doesn’t have to be tough with these simple changes in your eating choices, you will feel the difference. Here’s how to get started

rainbow fruit and veg


Eat your rainbow colours

At least five portions of different types of fruit and vegetables a day helps you get a range of nutrients and anti-oxidants. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a portion of fresh fruit.

Have a fish dish

Fish is an excellent source of protein and contains vitamins and minerals. It’s recommended that we eat at least two portions of fish per week, including one serving of oily fish. Oily fish include salmon, mackerel, trout, and non-oily fish like haddock, plaice and coley.

Saturated is overrated!

We need some fat in our diet, the amount and type of fat we’re eating is vital to acknowledge. The two types of fat are: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can escalate the volume of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. Try to reduce your saturated fat intake, and select foods that comprise unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, and avocados.

Move more!

Eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, which is an important part of general good health. However, this goes hand in hand with moving more even by making small strides in your daily routine. Take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the couch and walk the dog, involve the kids and play tag. Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease, being more active in the smallest way is a step in the right direction.


We need to drink about 1.6 to 2 litres of water every day to avoid dehydration. This is in addition to the fluid we get from the food we eat. Avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars. Water infused with freshly cut fruit like lemon, mint, cucumber or strawberries is healthy and still appetizing.

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Heart Foundation South Africa

Many of us in our 30’s and 40’s think we are  in good health, but do we actually know if we are at risk for heart disease? The chances are we are at risk since cardiovascular diseases are the second biggest killer in South Africa after HIV/AIDS; it affects all people in South Africa and heart attacks kill 210 people every day! Heart disease was once thought to be a disease of the elderly, yet it now affects young people, with more than half of deaths occurring in people under the age of 65 years. Which is why it is not unusual these days to hear about younger people having heart attacks.

 Many of us aren’t caring for our hearts – we eat badly, smoke and drink too much and are not keeping active – which means we are likely to be at risk of having heart trouble at a young age. So this year, to celebrate Heart Awareness Month, the HSFSA is calling on all people in South Africa to #HaveHeart and show you care – care for your own heart, for your family and for South Africa. Caring for your heart means getting screened to know your risk and properly managing this risk through better living and treatment. Dr Vash Mungal-Singh says, “Many of us don’t know if we are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke. For example, 3 in 4 people living with high blood pressure don’t even know they have it, and the only way to know is by getting screened”.

This Heart Awareness Month the HSFSA shows it does #HaveHeart by partnering with national pharmacy retailer, Dis-chem who is offering free health screenings throughout the month of September. This will include measurements for blood pressure, blood glucose and weight status, and no appointment is necessary.

In addition to knowing your numbers, an integral part of caring for your heart is to live healthy. Up to 80% of heart attacks in young people are due to lifestyle choices. “On a positive note this means that by making small changes to your lifestyle you can go a long way to preventing heart disease at a young age”, says Dr Mungal-Singh. We encourage our people to take action this September and commit to 3 steps towards a healthy heart – eat better, move more and stop smoking.

To further spread the #HaveHeart word, the HSFSA is partnering with a number of radio and TV stations across South Africa this September. We will be hitting the road and screening DJs and their teams, TV presenters and celebrities live on-air, as they tell us how they #HaveHeart and talk about their numbers. The HSFSA asks people in South Africa to join them and be tested too, either at their nearest Dis-chem or at a HSFSA screening, and stand a chance of winning great prizes.

Enter the Competition !

Anyone who gets tested can enter the competition by:

1) take a selfie while being screened,

2) post and share their screening selfie on our Facebook page  www.facebook.com/HeartStrokeSA, via Twitter @SAHeartStroke using the #HaveHeart, or email toheart@heartfoundation.co.za , and

3) challenge their family and friends to get tested as well. By joining the campaign and sharing on Facebook,Twitter or emailing their selfie to us, they stand a chance of winning great prizes!

Heart Awareness month

About the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA

The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa (HSFSA) plays a leading role in the fight against preventable heart disease and stroke, with the aim of seeing fewer people in South Africa suffer premature deaths and disabilities. The HSF, established in 1980 is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation.

The HSFSA aims to reduce the cardiovascular disease (CVD) burden in South Africa and ultimately on the health care system of South Africa. Our mission is to empower people in South Africa to adopt healthy lifestyles, make healthy choices easier, seek appropriate care and encourage prevention.

For more information, contact the Heart and Stroke Health Line on 0860 1 HEART (43278) or visit www.heartfoundation.co.za. You can also find us on www.facebook.com/HeartStrokeSA and www.twitter.com/SAHeartStroke


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