VITAL RESEARCH: University of the Sunshine Coast researcher Tom Bailey checks the condition of a volunteer patient as part of research into healthier hearts.
VITAL RESEARCH: University of the Sunshine Coast researcher Tom Bailey checks the condition of a volunteer patient as part of research into healthier hearts. Warren Lynam

So what's the best recipe for a healthy heart?

WHAT'S the recipe for a healthy heart?

University of the Sunshine Coast academics believe a combination of a Mediterranean diet and regular exercise while not necessarily reducing your weight, can in combination deliver greater fitness and health.

A Mediterranean diet is plant based with plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and uses olive oil rather than butter and herbs and spices rather than salt to flavour meals.

Red meat should be restricted to just a few meals a month.

As for exercise it needs to continuous, of moderate impact and occupy at least 30 minutes, five days a week. Cycling, walking and swimming are ideal.

Or you can go at a far more vigorous pace for between 20 and 40 minutes three times a week.

A group of eight PHD students from across the globe now studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast as part of its VasoActive Research group will be on hand this morning at Lake Kawana Community Centre as part of a Heart Health Week Expo organised by the university and Sunshine Coast Council in association with the health and wellness sector.

The university research team will be providing free testing of arterial elasticity.

Associate Professor Chris Askew said arterial stiffness was a key indicator of the risk of heart attack or stroke.

A simple measurement of pulse wave velocity shows the speed with which blood flows from the neck (heart) to the leg. The faster the pulse the stiffer the vessels.

Flexible arteries slow the flow reducing the likelihood of a stroke or heart attack.

Associate Professor Askew said the university's research among other things was measuring the effect of exercise on arterial stiffness. It indicates that although stiffening occurs with age it can be lessened through regular exercise.

He said exercise was a powerful medicine that through improved fitness could lessen risk factors like diabetes and smoking.

Assoc Prof Askew said it was possible to be fit and fat through exercise that didn't necessarily reduce weight.

He is critical of the lack of a publically-funded cardiac rehabilitation program on the Sunshine Coast.

"It's very poor to have that taken away,'' Prof Askew said.

"Only a few are now being sent to exercise rehabilitation programs.''

Today's activities include free bike rides, stand up paddle boarding, walking, cooking demonstrations, jumping castles and face painting from 8am to noon.

A Q&A session involving a number of health experts will start from 8.30am with an exhibition by 20 health and wellbeing from 8am to noon.



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