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Heart Problems: Prevention

MagazineJune 2007 (Vol. 18 Issue 3)Heart Problems: Prevention

Here are some changes you can make to your daily life and diet that will have a positive effect on heart health:

Here are some changes you can make to your daily life and diet that will have a positive effect on heart health:

  • Eat a Mediterranean diet, including lots of beans, peas, fish, fruit, vegetables, cereals and olive oil, and not so much meat, fat and eggs . A high dairy intake can increase heart disease risk
  • Avoid the standard heart-healthy low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. In one Indian study, those on a Mediterranean diet had half the heart symptoms and nearly one-third the deaths from heart attack as those on a low-fat diet
  • Avoid high-glycaemic, processed foods, linked to high cholesterol and other heart problems
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat nuts; they dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Avoid hydrogenated fats and trans fatty acids, found in most processed foods, particularly margarine
  • Consume foods rich in flavonoid antioxidants - brightly coloured fresh fruits and vegetables, grape juice, green tea, red wine in moderation. Flavonoids contain proanthocyanidins and tannins, which strengthen blood vessels and blood flow
  • Two-and-a-half servings of wholegrains a day can cut your heart disease risk by a third
  • Exercise regularly - even just walking increases the levels of protective HDL. In those with CHF, regular exercise reduced mortality by 40 per cent, and 60 minutes of cycling three times a week significantly lowered death rates, and improved heart function and quality of life.

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