What you put on your plate, what and how much you eat, can impact your heart and general health.
Each year, in the UK, one person is admitted to hospital every five minutes due to heart attacks. That’s 100,000 people a year. Not only that but there are 7.6 million people in the UK living with heart disease. Around 25% of all deaths in the UK are caused by heart and circulatory diseases. That’s around one death every three minutes.
If you or a loved one have had tests for heart disease and are at risk of a heart attack or have heart disease, one crucial step that our Cheshire-based cardiologists and the NHS recommend is to have a healthy diet. This can help reduce your risk of a heart attack.
In this article we unpack how to eat your way to a healthier heart with a balanced diet. A good diet can also reduce your risk of other complications such as diabetes, weight gain and high blood pressure.
It doesn’t have to be complicated
Making lifestyle changes can seem overwhelming. However, a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a big impact and may dramatically reduce your risk of cardiac disease.
While healthy eating isn’t a catch-all cure, watching what’s on your plate along with:
- Stopping smoking
- Moderating alcohol consumption
- Weight loss
- Regular exercise
…can all help reduce your risk of a heart attack.
Get the right nutrients
Crash and faddy diets rarely work. Maintaining a balanced diet, portion control and regular exercise are much more likely to be sustainable and give you the results you are looking for. Good food groups to include in your diet are:
- Fruit and vegetables
Having five portions of fruit and vegetables and any plant-based foods a day is ideal. One portion is about a handful (80g/3oz).
- Fish and lean meat
Fish and lean meat are good sources of protein, vitamins and minerals.
Where possible, it’s advisable to steam, grill or bake non-battered fish and lean meat.
The general recommendation is to avoid eating more than 70g a day of processed meat such as sausages and bacon. As for fish, one or two portions of fish a week are recommended by the NHS, one of those being oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, kippers or sardines. All these fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help to keep your heart healthy.
- Pulses and grains
Beans and pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, runner beans, and peas are full of low fat, protein, vitamins, fibre and minerals, including iron. They can be part of your five a day.
Pulses and grains can also be a good substitute if you are considering reducing your meat and dairy intake. They are also inexpensive to buy.
- Foods low in unhealthy fat, salt, and sugar
Eating the right kind of fats and a diet low in salt and sugar will help you protect your heart and help reduce your blood pressure. High blood pressure can lead to heart and circulatory diseases.
The Department of Health recommends that you avoid eating more than 30g a day (men) or 20g a day (women) of foods with saturated fats, including processed meats, pies, cakes, chocolate butter, cheese, biscuits, pastries and so on.
Unsaturated fats such as olive oil, oily fish, avocados, unsalted walnuts, almonds, cashews and sunflower seeds are all good alternatives.
Overeating saturated fat can raise your cholesterol, which in turn can increase your risk of developing heart disease.
Contact us If you consider having tests for heart disease and are looking for a Cardiologist in Cheshire, Manchester, Merseyside, or elsewhere in the Northwest, then look no further. We are based in Birchwood, Warrington, in the heart of the Northwest, with easy access to all the aforementioned areas. So get in touch with our friendly experts at Venturi Cardiology. Venturi looks after patients of all ages, helping them to manage their heart health more accurately.