Love Your Heart
According to the World Health Organisation 80% of heart attacks could be preventable. Just by eating the right foods combined with some small but significant changes to your lifestyle could make a big difference to the health of your heart.
A Mediterranean style diet with its emphasis on fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, fish, lean meats, nuts, seeds and olive oil is beneficial as the antioxidants from the fruit and vegetables and the balance of essential omega fatty acids provide resistance to heat disease.
To protect your heart you should be:
- Cutting back on processed meats and cakes, biscuits and pastries.
- Keeping your alcohol intake within the low-risk alcohol drinking guidelines, and having at least two alcohol free days per week.
- Keeping your weight down and staying active, aiming for 30 minutes of exercise most days, with emphasis on exercise that raises your heart rate.
- Staying hydrated, this will help to maintain a healthy blood flow.
- Not smoking.
Try eating more:
- Avocados, nuts and seeds which are loaded with monounsaturated fats.
- Oily fishes such as salmon, mackerel, sardines and trout, these being high in the omega fatty acids, aiming for 2-4 portions a week.
- Fruit and vegetables, varying your intake to include a wide range – red cabbage, tomatoes, berries, aubergines, leafy green veg such as kale and watercress, which will provide potassium which helps manage blood pressure and antioxidants which help minimise damage to your arteries.
- Chilli, ginger, cinnamon and oregano can reduce and protect the cardiovascular system.
- Pulses and wholegrains are a good source of magnesium which helps to relate blood vessels.
- Fibre – porridge, unsweetened muesli and beans – help to manage cholesterol levels.
Try aiming for three portions of wholegrains daily and drinking plenty of water to help fibre work more effectively.