The British Heart Foundation now has a website which is there to help you realise what a healthy diet is and how to maintain your weight. The section titled "Keeping your heart healthy" contains the most information about healthy eating and is very useful.
What is a Healthy Diet?
A healthy diet can help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease. If you already have coronary heart disease, eating a well balanced diet can also help protect your heart from further problems.
Eating healthily can help protect your heart in the following ways:
- help maintain a healthy weight
- help lower your blood cholesterol level
- help keep your blood pressure down
- help prevent atheroma (fatty material) from building up inside your arteries
- help prevent blood clots forming.
Eating a well balanced diet can help you improve your general health and can help protect against other conditions such as some cancers and diabetes.
A healthy diet contains plenty of fruit and vegetables and starchy foods such as wholegrain bread, pasta and rice; and is low in fat (especially saturated fat), salt and sugar.
Fruit and vegetables
There is good evidence that eating a diet that is rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables can help to lower the risk of coronary heart disease. Aim to eat at least 5 portions each day. They can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned.
Too much fat in your diet particularly saturated fat, can increase your blood cholesterol levels which can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease. To help reduce your cholesterol level you should cut down on the total amount of fat you eat and replace saturated fats with monounsaturates and polyunsaturates and cut down on foods containing trans fats.
Eating oily fish regularly can help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and may help improve the chances of survival after a heart attack. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week one of which should be oily.
Reducing the amount of salt you eat will help keep your blood pressure down and may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease.
Too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, increase blood pressure and may also lead to weight gain. Please see our informtion on alcohol.
For more information on a healthy diet, please visit the rest of this section on the website. We produce a number of resources about healthy eating. To find out more please visit our Publications section.