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1. EAT an abundance of fruits and vegetables Why it’s heart healthy: Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fibre and full of vitamins and minerals! How to: Eat a fruit or vegetable at every meal or snack. Add fruit to your breakfast protein shake, yogurt or cereal; have a salad and/or steamed veg at lunch and dinner, and snack on fresh whole fruits and vegetables. When you make a point to have a fruit or vegetable every time you eat, it’s easy to get all your servings in for the day.

2. Choose heart-healthy proteins Why it’s heart healthy: Your protein sources should be low in fat since saturated fats can raise cholesterol levels in the blood. How to: Meats naturally contain more saturated fat and cholesterol than poultry, and poultry has more fat than seafood. If you eat dairy products, it’s best to choose fat- free or low fat. Plant proteins – like soy proteins, beans and lentils – are naturally cholesterol-free, and low in saturated fat

3. Aim for a few fish meals per week

Why it's heart healthy: Fish is a good source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats DHA and EPA. How to: For convenience, you can’t beat canned tuna and salmon – any of which can be tossed into a salad for a quick, balanced meal. Use skimmed or semi-skimmed milk in cooking

and in your smoothies and fat-free yogurt or cottage cheese at meals or snacks. If you eat red meat, choose the leanest cuts and trim visible fat. Replace high fat minced meats with minced poultry breast.

4. Eat plenty of fibre, especially soluble fibre Why it’s heart healthy: There are two main types of fibre – known as 'soluble' and 'insoluble'. Both are important, but they each have different effects on the body. Insoluble fibre is found primarily in vegetables and whole grains, and it speeds the rate at which food passes through the digestive tract, so it’s helpful in promoting regularity. But the soluble fibre (found in apples, oranges, carrots, oats, barley, and beans) traps water as well as cholesterol in the digestive tract. In doing so, it promotes fullness – which helps with weight management. How to: Snack on apples and carrots; add beans to soups and salads, or blend smooth into a dip. Aside from oatmeal, rolled oats can be added to protein shakes, or you can whirl rolled oats in the blender into a flour, and use to partially replace wheat flour when you cook or bake at home.

5. Choose heart-healthy fats Why it’s heart healthy: Foods like fish, tree nuts, avocados and olive oil are considered some of the most heart-healthy fats because they contain very little saturated fat and are good sources of polyunsaturated fats which can help keep blood cholesterol levels in a healthy range.

How to: Reduce the total amount of fat you use in cooking and at the table, and use heart-healthy olive oil as much as possible when you cook. Sprinkle nuts and seeds on salads, yogurt and cooked vegetables. Try using avocado to replace other fats – instead of mayonnaise in your tuna salad or to replace the spread on your wholegrain toast. Aim for a few fish meals a week; if that doesn’t work for you, consider an omega-3 supplement.

6. Find and stay at a healthy weight Why it’s heart healthy: I listed this one last, because if you follow the other 'whats' of a heart-healthy diet – and include regular exercise – chances are good that you’ll find and maintain your healthy weight. But I could have listed this one first, however, since maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the key factors in maintaining a healthy heart. How to: In addition to following the heart healthy guidelines above and getting plenty of exercise, another key issue to weight management is portion control. Plenty of people eat very well – but they still eat too much and carry too much weight. By keeping your portions moderate, you’ll control your overall calorie intake as well as the total amount of fat that you eat. Make sure to eat at regular intervals, and have some protein every time you eat, too, to help keep blood sugar levels steady and to control hunger.

THE SUBJECT of safety maintenance is given a priority aboard merchant ships. There is always some maintenance plan to go by, whether it is a checklist or even an elaborate electronic system of recording inspections and maintenance of safety equipment aboard. In my Junior Officer days, an

active safety maintenance plan gave certain professional satisfaction in identifying equipment and fittings that were critical to shipboard safety. Active safety drills were

encouraged and feedback in the form of how to enhance the onboard safety culture were positively received. Safety Committee meetings were adopted and are now part of the Management system aboard all merchant shipping. I can remember as a Junior Officer

having boat drills at sea, with the ship's boats being manned and taken away from the ship. Obviously, this was under controlled conditions and exercised the ship's company in the launching, operating and recovering the ship's lifeboat. Fire drills were encouraged and

realistic scenarios were acted out. Breathing Apparatus teams were blindfolded to simulate working in smoke, for example. Modern Shipboard Management

Safety systems include specific drills to be conducted aboard ship. The drills are varied and recorded and include a debriefing session in which lessons to be learned are appraised. As part of a Safety Management

System aboard are Circulars, Publications and Posters. On my ship visits I do see them in abundance on accommodation alleyway bulkheads. Human nature can rapidly get immune to this type of information and so an active culture of regular updating is to be encouraged.

Regular testing of a ship's safety

equipment is recorded in the ship's management files with external periodic inspection being conducted during port visits. So, how does this apply to the

small boat owner? This is the time of year to make inspections aboard your craft and to plan out the periodic maintenance for the year. Have you got a list at hand of

safety equipment and fittings aboard? Do you keep instruction manuals of safety appliances aboard? Are you familiar with the safety

features to be found on your craft and is it in working order? A prime candidate for this list is

your boat's engine and emergency power supplies. Imagine you are broken down at sea in total darkness. What is your plan of action to get out of trouble?! Do your crew know what to do in

an emergency? Are emergency exits clear? Once items are listed, then an organised plan can be made. Even if you had a safety maintenance plan in 2015, what improvements can be made to that? It’s worth keeping records too, as a Seamanlike measure in an unlikely event that you may be directed to this record at a later period. Records do not have to be

elaborate. At least an A4 writing book or file would prove useful with a pouch for instruction manuals. A waterproof case is recommended if these items are stored aboard. The RNLI are active all year round,

with their activities being recorded in the media. If you question why there should be safety maintenance aboard your craft, just look at what this RNLI service does. Avoidable call outs are unnecessary so endeavour to make sure a potentially embarrassing incident doesn’t come from you. Good watch, good maintenance!

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