10 heart health tips
Give up smoking If you're a smoker, quit. It's the single best thing you can do for your heart health.
Get active Activity can reduce your risk of developing heart disease. It can also be a great mood booster and stress buster. Do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. One way to achieve this target is by doing 30 minutes of activity on five days a week
Manage your weight Being overweight can increase your risk of heart disease. Stick to a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and sugar, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, combined with regular physical activity.
Eat more fibre Eat plenty of fibre to help lower your risk of heart disease – aim for at least 30g a day. Eat fibre from a variety of sources, such as wholemeal bread, bran, oats and wholegrain cereals, potatoes with their skins on, and plenty of fruit and veg.
Cut down on saturated fat Eating too many foods that are high in saturated fat can raise the level of cholesterol in your blood. This increases your risk of heart disease. Choose leaner cuts of meat Read the labels
Get your 5 A DAY Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day. They're a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. There are lots of tasty ways to get your 5 A DAY, like adding chopped fruit to cereal or including vegetables in your pasta sauces and curries.
Cut down on salt To maintain healthy blood pressure, avoid using salt at the table and try adding less to your cooking. Once you get used to the taste of food without added salt, you can cut it out completely.
Eat fish Eat fish at least twice a week, including a portion of oily fish. Fish such as mackerel, sardines, fresh tuna and salmon are a source of omega-3 fats,
Drink less alcohol Regularly drinking more than the NHS recommends, can have a noticeable impact on your waistline. Try to keep to the recommended daily alcohol limits to reduce the risk of serious problems with your health, including risks to your heart health.
Read the food labels Understanding what is in food and how it fits in with the rest of your diet will help you make healthier choices. Use that traffic light system
Top 15 foods to help with heart disease
1. Yogurt Research shows yogurt may protect against gum disease. Left unchecked, gum disease may elevate a person’s risk for heart disease.
2. Raisins Research has shown that antioxidants in raisins fight the growth of a type of bacteria that can cause inflammation and gum disease.
3. Whole Grains People who eat plenty of whole grains tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of heart disease than those who don’t. This is probably because whole grains contain antioxidants, phytoestrogens and phytosterols that are protective against coronary disease. The fibre in whole grains also has its benefits: various studies link a high-fibre diet with a lower risk of heart disease. In a Harvard study of female health professionals, people who ate a high-fibre diet had a 40 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ate a low-fibre diet.
4. Beans Eating beans regularly is good for your heart, and you don’t need to eat a lot of them to benefit. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition suggests having just 1⁄2 cup of cooked Kidney beans daily might lower cholesterol. Soluble fibre is a key reason why,
5. Salmon/Fish Consuming two or more servings of fish per week is associated with a 30 percent lower risk of developing coronary heart disease over the long term, studies show. Fish—especially “oily” kinds, such as salmon and tuna—contain omega-3 fats, which lower levels of triglycerides in the blood that may contribute to blood clotting
6. Nuts Nuts are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and low levels of saturated fats.
7. Chocolate Researchers have discovered that eating moderate amounts of flavanol-rich dark chocolate has a blood-thinning effect, which can benefit cardiovascular health, and it may also boost the immune system by reducing inflammation. - look for pure cacao or over 80%
8. Tomatoes An excellent source of vitamin C, plus vitamin A, potassium and fibre, tomatoes are high in lycopene, which works with other vitamins and minerals to aid in disease prevention. Research suggests that the combination of nutrients in tomatoes may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Cooking may actually increase the health benefits of this lush fruit because although cooked tomatoes have less vitamin C, their lycopene is more available and antioxidant activity is undiminished by cooking.
9. Apples Apples were associated with a lower risk of death from both coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease
10. Berries Eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to heart health, according to a recent study
11. Pomegranates Studies have shown that the fruit may help to reduce the build-up of plaque in arteries and lower blood pressure. Experts believe that pomegranate’s benefits come from its powerful punch of polyphenols
12. Bananas One banana has 422 mg—about 12 percent of your recommended daily dose—of potassium. The potassium in bananas helps maintain normal heart function and the balance of sodium and water in the body
13. Popcorn Popcorn delivers polyphenols—antioxidants linked to improving heart health. Gram for gram, popcorn boasts three times more polyphenols than kidney beans (the highest vegetable polyphenol source) and four times more than cranberries (the best fruit source) not sweet or salted of course
14. Green Tea Some of the strongest evidence of tea’s health benefits comes from studies of heart disease. Scientists have found that those who drink 12 ounces or more of tea a day are about half as likely to have a heart attack as non-tea drinkers.
15. Oats Oats have a type of fibre (called beta-glucan) that lowers your LDL cholesterol. One and a half cups of cooked oatmeal or a little over a cup of cooked barley gives you the amount of beta-glucan you need daily to help lower your cholesterol.