Diet can cut risk of heart disease

Daily exercise vital - dietician
Daily exercise vital - dietician

‘While there is no magic food to prevent CVD, there are a number of ways you can decrease your risk of developing heart disease,’ she said.

‘This includes eating a healthy balanced diet and engaging in daily physical activity.’

She said food could be one of the best protections against heart disease.

‘Oily fish such as mackerel, sardines, tuna and salmon which contain omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables, antioxidants in fruit and vegetables offer protection against heart disease,’ she said.

People with diabetes should eat foods high in fibre, including wholegrain cereals, fruit and vegetables.

‘Unrefined carbohydrate sources with a low glycaemic index (GI) such as wholegrain breads and breakfast cereals, legumes, certain types of rice and pasta are also important for people with diabetes because they help keep blood sugar levels in check,’ Mrs Bulsara said.

She said legumes and soy protein had been shown to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or bad) cholesterol levels, especially if blood cholesterol levels were high.

Other protective foods include nuts and seeds, antioxidant rich tea, which prevents the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, and foods containing vitamin E, including avocados, dark green vegetables and vegetable oils. Wholegrain products help to protect against bad cholesterol.

Mrs Bulsara said said daily physical activity or exercise was vital to reduce the risk of heart disease.

‘Walking at least 30 minutes each day at a vigorous pace (at least four kilometres per hour) reduces heart disease risk by 30 per cent,’ she said.

Mrs Bulsara said if people had experienced cardiovascular disease, it was essential they have regular check-ups with a GP or cardiologist.

Cardiovascular risk factors that can be controlled, treated or modified include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, being overweight/obese, diabetes, high stress levels and poor lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor dietary habits and a lack of physical activity.