Heart disease: ‘Control your portion size’ to reduce your risk – three common mistakes

Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk in 2021

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Changing your diet and keeping a healthy weight are two ways you may be able to lower your risk. The Mayo Clinic notes that although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, changing your eating habits is often tough. It suggests that one area to change may be portion sizes.

Indeed, the organisation explains: “How much you eat is just as important as what you eat.

“Overloading your plate, taking seconds and eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs.

”It suggests that a few simple tips to control food portion size can help. For example, use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions, eat more low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables while you eat smaller amounts of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods.

The CDC says to minimise the temptation of second and third helpings when eating at home, serve the food on individual plates, instead of putting the serving dishes on the table.

It suggests that keeping the excess food out of reach may discourage overeating.

The NHS says a portion size can be confusing for some of us, and we often wonder how much food we should be piling on our plate.

It notes reducing your portion sizes to help you reduce and maintain a healthy weight.The health body says a portion is:

  • A fist size of potatoes, bread, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates
  • A palm size of meat/fish or poultry
  • Two handfuls of vegetables or salad
  • A cupped-handful of fruit
  • Top of your thumb size of oil or fat spread.

It adds: “Most of us still are not eating enough fruit and vegetables. They should make up over a third of the food we eat each day.”

The NHS explains: “Our bodies need energy to keep us alive and our organs functioning normally.

“When we eat and drink, we put energy into our bodies. Our bodies use up that energy through everyday movement, which includes everything from breathing to running.

“To maintain a stable weight, the energy we put into our bodies must be the same as the energy we use through normal bodily functions and physical activity.”

As well as maintaining a healthy weight, there are other ways to reduce your risk of heart disease.

The Mayo Clinic says: “One of the best things you can do for your heart is to stop smoking or using smokeless tobacco. Even if you’re not a smoker, be sure to avoid secondhand smoke.”

It adds: “Regular, daily physical activity can lower the risk of heart disease. Physical activity helps control your weight.“

It also reduces the chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on the heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.”

The organisation also says people who don’t get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, diabetes and depression.

It notes: “Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night. Make sleep a priority in your life.”The NHS says the main symptoms of coronary heart disease are:

  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain throughout the body
  • Feeling faint
  • Feeling sick (nausea).

“But not everyone has the same symptoms and some people may not have any before coronary heart disease is diagnosed,” warns the health body.

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