Heart attacks happen when the blood supply to the heart suddenly becomes interrupted and they require emergency medical attention. The heart muscle can become damaged, and depending on how damaged the heart already is, severe complications can occur including heart failure. Making lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent a heart attack or having another, and one of the changes recommended is eating a healthy, balanced diet. The NHS explains eating an unhealthy diet high in fat will cause the arteries to harden, increasing the risk of heart attack.
Eating an unhealthy diet high in fat will cause the arteries to harden, increasing the risk of heart attack
It adds: “Continuing to eat high-fat foods will cause more fatty plaques to build up in your arteries. This is because fatty foods contain cholesterol.”
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered essential, but too much high-density lipoprotein cholesterol is considered bad.
So what foods should you consider eating to keep the heart healthy?
In their book titled ‘Eat Better Live Longer’, medical consultant Dr Sarah Brewer and dietician Juliette Kellow recommend eating the following six foods.
According to the pair, a daily serving of whole grains has been estimated to lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease by 9 per cent.
They write: “While all whole grains keep the heart healthy, oats are particularly good: their beta-glucans help to lower cholesterol.”
These are rich in soluble fibre, which forms gel inside the digestive tract and binds to cholesterol, reducing its absorption by the body, the duo explain.
They cite: “One review of studies concluded that eating a daily serving of pulses lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol by five per cent, with the benefits being greater in men than in women.”
Fruit and veg
Fruit and veg contain a combination of nutrients and fibre which help lower cholesterol.
The women add: “They contain potassium for blood pressure control; and they provide a myriad of antioxidants that help protect against free-radical damage.
“The more you eat the better.”
This is rich in monounsaturated which can help lower blood cholesterol.
Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow cite: “Lab studies show that the polyphenols in olive oil, such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol, may also help to keep the heart healthy, thanks to their potent antioxidant powers.”
Fish are rich in omega-3 fats, a star heart health nutrient, but they also contain other valuable nutrients.
The pair advise: “A review of studies found that eating four or more portions of fish a week was associated with a 21 per cent reduced risk of having a heart attack.”
These contain heart-friendly ingredients, including fibre, monounsaturates and vitamin E.
Dr Brewer and Ms Kellow say: “Numerous studies confirm that eating nuts helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raises HDL (good) cholesterol.”
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