By Claudia Ehrlicher, registered Dietitian
Most of us tend to live a very busy lives: long commutes, a hectic environment, a busy work schedule and trying to fit in time for family and friends. But that means that we often neglect our health. Regular exercise, taking steps to avoid stress and eating a healthy diet can all get forgotten in our day to day lives and this can have a serious effect on our vascular and heart health.
It is so easy to reach for fast food, chocolate, biscuits, crisps and other fatty food all washed down with sugary drinks, juices or alcohol. These foods may give us a bit of energy and may make us feel better in the short term, but these foods do not keep us full and then we eat more and as the weight piles on health issues such as high blood pressure start to appear.
Eating well, exercising regularly and trying to reduce our stress is of benefit to everyone. whether we are living with disease, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or if we have had a heart attack or a stroke.
So, how can YOU lower your risks through diet?
Cut down on the fatty and sugary stuff and introduce the following heart healthy foods into your diet.
Foods for a healthy heart:
- Fruits and vegetables – keep it colourful and aim for 5 portions per day.
- Eat broccoli, kale, tomatoes, peppers, apricots, grapes etc.
- Whole grain, pulses and soya – all highly powerful with lots of possibilities to prepare healthy meals
- Apples and oats – rich in B-Glucan which reduces bad cholesterol
- Salmon and other oily fish like mackerel, herring, sardines, tuna etc.
- aim for 2-3 portions per week to get a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids
- olive, rapeseed, walnut, flaxseed, soya oil
- eat a small handful (1-2 tbsp) daily
- in small quantities like 1 small glass of red wine or 1 square of very dark chocolate per day – have been shown to be beneficial for heart health. But please, be careful! In this case it’s not ‘the more the merrier’! You wouldn’t want to protect your heart but get liver problems or become overweight instead.
- Vegetable oils contribute to omega 3 intake and a better balanced lipid profile
- Nuts e.g. walnuts, almonds
- Red wine and dark chocolate
By eating these foods as part of a healthy and varied diet you will get a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega 3 fatty acids, phytonutrients, fibre and B-Glucan and prevent blood clotting, reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol, clean your arteries and fight free radicals.
So, next time you’re looking for a ‘quick fix’ snack, instead of a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar, grab a banana or an apple and have some nuts with it.
If you have any healthy recipes you enjoy, please email the recipe together with a picture to, info@circulationfoundation and we will publish them on this website.
Claudia’s contact details:
Phone: 020 8826 0672
Mobile: 078 2761 2261