Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk
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According to the BHF, heart disease is known as the silent killer of more than 160,000 Brits each year and for many sufferers, diet plays a huge role in this fatal diagnosis. There are plenty of healthy swaps that can be made to improve your lifestyle while reducing your risk of developing this life-changing condition. A healthy diet is crucial to maintaining good heart health, but what are the best foods to eat to combat the risk of heart disease?
How does diet affect heart disease?
According to the medical website, Healthline, heart disease is a collection of diseases and conditions that cause cardiovascular problems.
Coronary heart disease is caused by a buildup of fatty substances on the coronary arteries which restricts the blood supply to the heart.
Over time, an unhealthy diet packed with saturated fats and excessive salt and sugar can build up in the arteries which deliver blood to keep your heart pumping.
Lifestyle changes are one of the best treatments for this incurable disease and a healthier diet has been proven to reduce the effects, with everything from broccoli to omega three reducing the risks.
People with heart disease or those concerned about their health should discuss their diet with a doctor.
Which foods reduce the risk of heart disease?
Naturally nutrient-rich foods are an essential component of a healthy diet, with green vegetables and pulses taking the top spots on the healthiest products, but what else can you eat to keep your heart healthy?
Oatmeal is a soluble fibre that can help to reduce the amount of ‘bad’ cholesterol in the body.
‘Bad’ cholesterol describes low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which can build up around your arteries when consumed in high quantities.
The ‘LDL’ reducing properties of fibrous oats work well to reduce the impact of these harmful blockages on your heart.
This nutrient-rich green leaf is one of the best sources of dietary magnesium, which helps to regulate the heart’s rhythm.
A regular heartbeat keeps the blood flowing in the right direction through the arteries while fuelling your body with organic energy.
These juicy red fruits are filled to the brim with fibre, potassium, vitamin C, folate and choline, all of which are good for the heart.
Increasing your potassium intake while reducing your sodium intake is one of the most important dietary changes to make when trying to reduce the risk of heart disease.
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While not technically a food, green tea has been scientifically proven to reduce cholesterol levels which is a common cause of heart disease.
This refreshing herbal tea has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.
Pulses and legumes
Beans, peas, chickpeas an lentils are all versatile ingredients in their own right which can be easily added to everyday meals.
In everything from hummus to baked beans, pulses are more common than you may think and taste delicious while filling you up.
These protein rich foods can significantly lower ‘bad’ cholesterol while having beneficial effects on you overall body and heart health.
Whole nuts are packed with protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants which are all crucial to our overall health.
Nuts in their plainest form are a healthy snack to have on the go, so be sure to top up your packed lunch with:
This hearty green vegetable should be a regular in your evening meal, packed with cholesterol-fighting nutrients known to prevent heart disease.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are rich plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids.
Alpha-linolenic acid has been proven to lower the levels of triglycerides and LDL cholesterol which minimises the buildup of fatty plaques.
Berries are packed full of antioxidants which help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Throw a handful of fresh or frozen berries into your smoothies or morning porridge to add a boost of vitamin A, vitamin C, fibre, folate, iron and calcium to your diet.
Asparagus is naturally rich in folate which can prevent the amino acid homocysteine from building up in your body.
Reducing homocysteine levels have been linked to a reduced risk of heart-related conditions including heart disease and stroke.
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