Heart Disease

A healthy diet plays a key role in recovery from heart disease as well as the prevention of it. Coronary heart disease means that fatty substances have built up in the coronary arteries, blocking the blood supply to the heart. Restricted blood supply can cause angina or heart pain, and completely blocked arteries may lead to a heart attack.

To prevent coronary heart disease, the National Health Service (NHS) urges people to keep LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels low and HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol levels high. A healthy, balanced diet is an important factor in an overall healthy lifestyle. The basic healthy diet for heart disease should be low in saturated fat, sugar, and salt, while including at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

The oils in fish have been found to reduce the risk of thrombosis, or blood clots. The best fish to eat are trout, sardines, herrings, mackerel, kippers, pilchards, and salmon, according to the NHS, and these should be eaten twice per week. The antioxidant vitamins (beta-carotene, C, and E) found in fruits and vegetables help prevent saturated fats from turning into cholesterol. Foods with soluble fibre, such as beans, peas, lentils, and oats, actually help lower cholesterol.

Reducing salt intake is a high priority for those with heart disease. Stop using salt at the table and in cooking, and watch for high salt levels in prepared foods. The NHS says that a food is high in salt if it has 1.5 grams of salt or 0.6 grams of sodium per 100 grams.