Love your heart – 8 tips for a healthy heart

Love your heart

The heart is a symbol that drives Valentine’s Day and the month of love. So, we propose that this year you focus on taking care of and loving your heart. From consuming your 5 a day to cutting down on salt; there are many simple things you can do to aid a healthy heart. To get you started, here are eight tips we love.



  • Become active

It is advised that everyone should aim to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise on five days of the week. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to hit the gym or go sprinting. Cycle to a store near you on Saturdays or play a round of soccer with your kids, friends or even your dogs. Make becoming more active more fun.

  • Know your BMI

Managing your weight can go a long way in increasing heart health. Your BMI (Body Mass Index) is a measurement of your body fat based on your height and weight. You can generate your BMI on a calculator found online or simply work it out by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres. Take that answer and divide it by your height again to get your BMI.

  • High 5 a day

Whenever possible, try and consume at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. This ensures that you consume a variety of vital nutrients and vitamins. Mix it into a tasty fruit or vegetable salad or chop your favourite five veggies or fruit into pieces and enjoy it for lunch at work.

  • Increase your fibre intake

Hearts love a healthy dose of fibre. Soluble fibre reduces the absorption of cholesterol in your intestines. Fibre is found in a variety of food sources such as wholemeal, wholegrain cereals and plenty of vegetables and fruit.

  • Take it with a pinch of salt

High salt intake can lead to high blood pressure so it’s always best to keep your pinches to a healthy limit when cooking or enjoying your meal. Be wary of high salt levels in ready-made foods and processed foods as well.

  • Enjoy fish

Fish such as sardines, fresh tuna, mackerel and salmon all contain a healthy source of omega-3 fats which can help protect against heart disease.

  • Say no to too much alcohol

High alcohol intake does not only lead to a host of problems and dangers, just like your favourite take-away meal, it can lead to weight gain which as a whole is bad for your heart. It is advised that you stick to the recommended daily alcohol limits.

  • No smoking

Did you know that smoking is the leading cause of coronary heart disease? There’s no need to go cold turkey or struggle on your own. Speak to your doctor and ask him or her for assistance and advice on how to stop smoking.


Celebrate the month of love by loving and taking care of yourself and your heart. Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and share your health tips with us.

Starting small – Top tips to sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions


It’s a New Year and naturally you’d have your resolutions listed. Perhaps becoming more active, eating healthier or losing a few kilos have made your list?  You feel amped and ready to reach those goals only the feeling doesn’t last too long.

We’re here to give you some tips and great exercises to get you going on your road to reaching your goals for the New Year without giving up.

Let’s start with why many people might give up on their New Year’s resolutions:

  • Trying to do it alone without a friend or support structure
  • Goals are set too high
  • Lack of time management
  • No set plan on reaching those goals
  • Self-doubt and a lack of confidence

Think big but start small

You may have great expectations but don’t push yourself too hard too fast, especially if you haven’t exercised or, for example, eaten a lot of healthy foods before now. If losing weight or becoming healthier is your goal, consult a dietician and/or a personal trainer and have them gage your starting point for you. From there on they will assist you or you can set small, attainable goals for yourself and gradually push yourself harder over a set period of time.

Not a fan of eating vegetables?

You can’t really start a healthy eating journey without including vegetables somewhere in there. Not to worry, here are a few suggestions you can try to make eating more veggies tolerable or perhaps even enjoyable.

  • Don’t be afraid to season your vegetables with a bit of salt or perhaps something more exotic
  • Roast your vegetables instead of boiling them, it will make them a lot more appealing
  • Slice a sweet potato into thin strips, coat them with a bit of olive oil, season and bake in the oven to make a delicious, crunchy snack that could replace your packet of chips at lunch
  • Find smart ways to incorporate them in your food like a delicious stir-fry with chicken or beef strips or wrap grilled pieces of chicken in lettuce with a bit of sauce.
  • Try, try and try everything. We know this is something your parents might have told you many times but you won’t know if you like it until you’ve tried it.

 Tips to help you stick to your exercise routine

  • In order for something to become a habit, you need to go at it for at least 66 days so be sure to set out your exercise and healthy eating plan to span across that number of days
  • Hold yourself accountable by checking in weekly with your dietician, personal trainer or even your friend and discuss the progress you’ve made
  • Although it might sound strange, figure out what you liked about working out in the first place even if it was your first time doing it. This is how you’ll learn to enjoy exercising
  • Find a time of the day that best suits you. You don’t necessarily have to exercise in the morning
  • Learn how to do the exercises right. If you’re doing them wrong you most likely won’t see any results so attending a few sessions with a personal trainer or a boot camp will help you on your way to becoming a right pro

Lastly and most importantly; never give up on yourself. It’s not going to be easy but the journey is so rewarding.


Foods your kidneys will love – Infographic

Quick and easy exercises that will help you on your way to sticking to your New Year’s resolutions

New Year’s resolutions

For many of us losing weight are at the top of our New Year’s resolutions lists. However, on how many occasions do we put exercise on the list as well? Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes if you wish to lose weight in a healthy manner.

Don’t give up just yet. We’ve compiled a few of our favourite exercises that are easy to do in the comfort of your home with no gym equipment necessary.

The Plank

Benefits: Tighter, stronger abs as well as stronger shoulders.

How to do it correctly: Lie down on a mat and settle into a push-up position. Prop yourself on your elbows which should be bent at 90 degrees. Don’t dip or lift your but as you’re holding the position and see how long you can hold the position. Don’t push yourself too hard. The more you do it every day, the long you’ll find you’re able to hold the position.


Benefits: Builds quads, hamstrings and shapely calves. This exercise will also strengthen your core.

How to do it correctly: Stand with your shoulders back, feet shoulder-width apart with your arms extended in front of you.  Bend your knees as though you’re going to take a seat and rise back up again. You can do this exercise at the office or at home while watching TV.

Suck in your stomach

Benefits: Tightens your core and helps protect the spine.

How to do it correctly: Sit or stand up straight. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, contract your abdominal muscles or, in simpler terms, suck in your stomach. Maintain the contraction for 10 to 20 seconds and release. You can repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times a day while sitting at your desk, driving or watching TV.

Standing push-ups

Benefits: This exercise targets your chest and arm muscles.

How to do it correctly: Stand approximately 2 feet from a counter with your arms extended and palms pressing against it. While keeping your body straight, perform a standard push-up. This is an easier alternative to the traditional push-up and can be performed at your desk, the dining room table or inside your kitchen.


Be sure to contact your healthcare provider or a personal trainer before attempting an exercise or weight-loss programme. Losing weight the healthy way might take a bit longer but the results will be greater and last longer. Remember, it’s not about being uber skinny or fitting into a three-year-old pair of jeans. It’s all about maintaining a healthy weight and taking care of yourself. Don’t give up; all difficult beginnings become easier.

Okay, we will stop with the #MondayMotivations and leave you to it.     

Healthshare’s top tips to surviving the back-to- work January blues

back-to-work January blues

Few things can match the disappointment of having to return to work or school after a fantastic holiday. Healthshare, however, is already hard at work and we’ve come up with a short survival guide to help you through that back-to-work blues.

Leverage the positives

If you’ve gone away for the holidays, you’ll be well rested and your mind will have had time to refresh. Leverage off the renewed energy and use it to start the year productively and organised. The first two weeks or so of January are usually quiet ones so use it to get ahead with some of your tasks.

Pack a healthy lunch

If you’ve set New Year’s resolutions, eating right might be on your list. If so, keep that resolution and pack yourself a healthy and nutritious lunch. In January, money’s usually on the low side so packing your own lunch can be more cost effective.

Sort out your emails and plan ahead

Use the downtime to sort through your emails, schedule and plan ahead for a couple of weeks or months. Accept that you probably won’t want to do a lot of work during this time, that’s okay. Don’t force yourself to immediately fall back into the groove, it doesn’t come as naturally for everyone.

Get a good night’s rest

Be sure to enjoy the last day before you return to work and get a good night’s rest. Try and do something really fun on the last day of your holiday in order to help you forget about your back-to-work blues. Once you’ve returned to work, don’t push yourself too hard. You don’t want to burn out to quickly so be sure to get a good night’s rest every night of the week.

Make it fun for yourself

Listen to some music, add a special treat to your lunchbox or find another way to make going back to work fun for yourself. Going back to work needn’t be such a drag. Catch up with your colleagues but be sure to cut the festive talks after lunch time at latest. Bringing up the holidays too often is just going to bring back your back-to-work blues.

Now you’re equipped with a few essential tips to survive your back-to-work blues. Can you add to this list? Join the conversation on social media and share your personal tips on getting through the first few weeks of returning to work.

Public Healthcare

Splendid benefits and uses of baking soda

baking soda

Baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, has benefits and uses that go way beyond banking. If you have a box in your cupboard, keep it handy because we’re going to share with you a few amazing benefits of using baking soda.

Please be advised that these uses and remedies will render different results for various individuals and we would advise that you contact a healthcare professional before relying on any of these remedies.

Exfoliation: Baking soda is a wonderful natural exfoliator and can be turned into the perfect at home, inexpensive spa treatment. Simply add three tablespoons of baking soda to a tub of warm water for a foot soak. Make a paste combining 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water to be used as an exfoliator for your body and face.

Cleanse your hands: The above mentioned paste can also be used to cleanse your hands and scrub away dirt and odours.

Deodorant: Preparing a simple paste with a pinch of baking soda and some water works wonderful as a natural antiperspirant. Alternatively, you can brush some dry baking soda under your arms.

Relieves itchiness and insect bites: You can make a paste with baking soda and water or simply rub the dry powder on a rash or to relieve minor skin irritations.

Splinters: Everyone can agree on one thing; a splinter is terribly irritating. If you consider yourself to be a patient person, soak the area where the splinter entered your skin in a mixture of a tablespoon of baking soda with water two times a day. The splinter should come out after a couple of days.

Sunburn: This remedy is perfect for summer. If you’re suffering from bad sunburn, soak your body in bath water containing half a cup of baking soda. When you step out of the tub, allow your skin to air-dry for extra relief.

Toothpaste: Studies have revealed that baking soda makes fantastic toothpaste that can remove plague, polish and clean your teeth. Here’s a secret toothpaste recipe: Mix six parts of baking soda with one part of sea salt. Blend these ingredients together. Wet your finger and apply the mixture to your gums and teeth and spit out the excess. Wait 15 minutes before rinsing your mouth.

Bonus tip: Baking soda is the natural answer to whitening your teeth.

Around the house:

Drain cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda in your drain following with a splash of apple cider vinegar. Allow this mixture to bubble down the drain for 15 minutes then rinse with hot water.

Scrub tough stains: Baking soda can be used to scrub your barbeque, scrub away the grime in your shower or bath and to soak pots and pans.

Fabric softner:  Add one cup of baking soda to your laundry to soften and whiten your clothes.

Now you know that bicarbonate of soda might just come in hand this festive season. Don’t forget to try one of the above mentioned uses on the 30th of December as it will be World Bicarbonate of Soda Day!

Top food safety tips to keep in mind

food safety

Food is something we deal with on a daily basis yet how aware are we of the risks we face when mishandling it during preparation and cooking? We would like to keep those risks to a minimum by making you aware of a few vital food safety tips.

When buying food:

  • Always check the expiry date
  • Never buy meat or food with torn or damaged packaging
  • Never purchase tinned goods if the tins have dents in them
  • Make sure that the fridges in the market which stores meat and other cold produce are adequately cold. It may happen that the power went out which in turn damaged the fridges
  • Handle fruit and vegetables with no packaging with care and always cover your hand with a plastic bag when picking your produce


  • It is advised that you refrigerate perishable food within 2 hours of buying
  • Your refrigerator temperature should be set at 4 ºC or below and the freezer should be set at 17.7 ºC or below
  • Rewrap your meat and poultry to ensure it maintains its quality when freezing
  • Store your canned goods and any other food in a cool, dry, clean and safe space


  • Always wash your hands with water and soap for around 20 seconds before working with food
  • Keep the juices of your raw meat, poultry or fish away from other food to avoid cross-contamination
  • Wash the cutting board and utensils used to work with the raw meat with hot and soapy water
  • Keep your kitchen surfaces clean and disinfected

Safe ways to thaw your food:

  • Storing your frozen meet in a bowl or container to avoid dripping, keep the meat in the refrigerator to allow for safe thawing
  • If you wish to speed up the process, place the food in a leak-proof bag and keep it in cold water. Remember to change the water after every 30 minutes of thawing
  • As a last resort, make use of the trusty microwave to thaw your meat

Rules of leftovers:

  • If leftover food had been standing at room temperature for over 2 hours, it’s best to discard it
  • Place the leftover food in a container and refrigerate or freeze immediately
  • It is advised to use the cooked leftovers within 4 days of freezing

As much as food is there to keep us fed and nourished, it can pose untold health risks if not worked with safely and mindfully. Simply following these tips could reduce risk of falling ill so stay safe and bon apatite!