The Heart Foundation have revealed that Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death in Australia, killing one Australian every 12 minutes.
Although there are a number of risk factors associated with heart disease, including high blood pressure, obesity and physical inactivity, healthy eating plays a very big role in looking after your heart.
Here are some delicious foods and snacks we found that may be able to assist in preventing heart disease.
- Salmon and other oily fish
Salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish contain omega-3 fatty acids. These have been shown to decrease triglycerides and increase HDL (‘good’) cholesterol levels, which leads to improving elasticity of blood vessels and thins the blood – decreasing your risk of clots and blockages in blood flow.
This delicious breakfast option is rich in soluble fibre and can lower your cholesterol. Same goes for whole grain breads and pastas.
Not only a delicious snack, blueberries and strawberries can decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels.
- Dark chocolate
The news you have been waiting for, it’s okay to eat chocolate. In fact studies have shown that daily consumption of dark chocolate may be able to reduce non-fatal heart attacks and strokes in people at high risk. Unfortunately, this is limited to 60-70% cocoa and not milk chocolate.
- Fruits and vegetables
No secretes here but fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that offer protection against heart disease. They are also a great source of folate!
Such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, peanuts and macadamia nuts are a great source of fibre and vitamin E, which helps lower bad cholesterol. These should be consumed in smaller quantities as they are high in kilojoules.
- Red wine
Some more great news! Red wine and other forms of alcohol contain protective antioxidants and increases HDL (‘good’) cholesterol helping to clear cholesterol from the body. However this is still being researched and too much alcohol can have the opposite effect. Current Australian guidelines indicate no more than two standard drinks per day for men and one for women.
There is evidence to suggest that antioxidants in tea can help prevent the build up of fatty acid deposits in arteries and can also act as anti-blood clotting agent to increase blood flow.
Will you be adding more of these to your diet?
If you are concerned about your risk of heart disease please see your medical professional, the foods mentioned above are advice only.