Heart-healthy food: what to eat and what to avoid
Heart disease remains a real threat within the UK and anything we can do to promote heart health is essential. For many of us, making dietary changes can help us do just that. Certain food groups are known for their heart-health-boosting properties, while others are known for the opposite.
Take a look at our list below to discover foods to eat and foods to avoid to keep your heart healthy:
Heart-healthy foods to eat:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables – look out especially for colourful produce such as berries, apples, spinach, peppers and tomatoes.
- Whole grains – try to include whole grain breads and pastas as they are full of fibre, complex carbs and protein.
- Meat and beans – aim to get your protein from a heart-healthy source such as lean poultry, beans and raw nuts.
- Dairy – opt for low-fat options and don’t forget canned fish and leafy greens are another source of calcium.
- Omega-3-rich foods – omega-3 fatty acids are great for the heart so try to include oily fish, nuts and seeds in your diet.
Heart-damaging foods to avoid:
- Trans fats – these unhealthy fats can be found in some packaged foods including cakes, crisps and cookies. Try to read labels before buying yourself a treat to ensure there are no trans fats and a low amount of saturated fats.
- Salt – all of us need a certain amount of salt in our diets, however a great deal of us eat far too much, leading to a rise in blood pressure. Added salt can be found in fast food and processed meals so check these types of food before purchasing and try to limit your sodium intake to the recommended 2,300 – 2,400 milligrams per day.
- Sugar – added sugar is found in a range of foods from pasta sauces to fizzy drinks. Try to avoid high sugar foods that list sugar/glucose/fructose/sucrose in its first three ingredients.
To find out more about nutrition and its effect on heart health, please see our Heart Disease page.
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