9 Heart-friendly diet tips

There are many ways to look after you heart, getting enough sleep and exercise are great places o start—but diet 

So, eat like the Greeks and Italians: grilled fish, roasted vegetables, a small glass of wine. Here are some other ways to ensure that what you eat benefits your heart.

 

1. Make five-a-day your minimum

Eight-a-day makes more sense. Cook or eat vegetables with a little fat, such as olive oil or oily fish, to help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

 

2. Go for good fats

Aim to get up to 30 per cent of your calories from fat, most of which should come from unsaturated fats—found, for example, in olive oil, oily fish, avocado, and nuts and seeds—which don’t raise cholesterol levels.

 

3. Make time for breakfast

A study of 3,000 people by Harvard researchers in 2008 found that simply having a good breakfast every day—including whole grains, fruit or healthy protein—cuts the risk of heart attack.

 

4. Cut down on salt

Choose low-salt alternatives to the food and drink you normally buy, and avoid processed foods.

 

5. Cut back on saturated fat, which is highest in full-fat dairy products, fatty meat and ghee (clarified butter used in South Asian cuisine).

 

6. Read food labels

Check ingredients when you go shopping to avoid saturated fat in processed food, cakes and pastries.

 

7. Go for whole grains

Increase your intake of high-fibre whole grains to three servings daily to cut your heart attack risk by 25 per cent.

 

8. Enjoy cholesterol-rich foods

Eggs, shellfish and offal form part of a balanced diet. They are nutritious and make little difference to your blood cholesterol levels.

 

9. Get your fibre

Make sure you’re eating plenty of foods high in soluble fibre—they help to reduce LDL cholesterol. Good sources are oats, beans, pulses, lentils, nuts, fruit and veg.