Heart disease: The best diet for reducing your risk – 31% lower risk

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk

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There are around 7.6 million people living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The charity suggests with an ageing and growing population and improved survival rates from heart and circulatory events, we could see these numbers rise still further. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk.

Currently, the BHF says healthcare costs relating to heart and circulatory diseases are estimated at £9billion each year.

Fortunately, the BHF states: “A healthy diet can help reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and stop you gaining weight, reducing your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure.”

Heart disease also covers conditions that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or cause abnormal rhythms.

Research is ongoing but advice centres on a number of food and food groups to include and reduce.

The Nutrition source notes that for years research into connections between diet and heart disease focused on individual nutrients like cholesterol, types of fats, and specific vitamins and minerals.

It says: “This work has been revealing, but it has also generated some dead ends, along with myths and confusion about what constitutes a heart-healthy diet.”

According to the health site “the best diet for preventing heart disease is one that is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oils”.

This diet should also include alcohol in moderation, if at all, “and goes easy on red and processed meats, refined carbohydrates, foods and beverages with added sugar, sodium, and foods with trans fat”.

Currently, the BHF says healthcare costs relating to heart and circulatory diseases are estimated at £9billion each year.

It says people with diets consistent with this dietary pattern had a 31 percent lower risk of heart disease.

There are also other dietary measures to consider. The BHF says too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which can increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease.

It adds: “Eating too much salt can increase the risk of developing high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease.”

If you currently eat more than 90g (cooked weight) of red or processed meat a day, the Department of Health and Social Care advises that you cut down to 70g.

Processed meat refers to meat that has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting or adding preservatives. This includes sausages, bacon, ham, salami and pâtés, according to the NHS.

The BHF says: “Smokers are almost twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to people who have never smoked.” Nonetheless, the charity says it is never too late to benefit from stopping smoking.”

“On average, men will add 10 years to their life if they quit by the age of 30. Many people will add three years to their life if they quit by the age of 60.

“Being a non-smoker can also improve your chances of being more physically active and healthier as you get older,” it adds.

Signs of heart disease include chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort.

The Mayo Clinic says you should always call emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.

It explains: “Heart disease is easier to treat when detected early, so talk to your doctor about your concerns regarding your heart health.”

It adds: “If you think you may have heart disease, based on new signs or symptoms you’re having, make an appointment to see your doctor.”

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