Food forms a huge part of our everyday lives – to fuel our bodies, but also to bring us joy and to enjoy new flavours. But food and eating well should be recognised as a way to form the basis of good heart health and to avoid disease.
However, with so much information available on the subject of nutrition for heart health, you would be forgiven for feeling confused about the best foods for heart health. There is also a lot of information about heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol that could cause worry or anxiety, so let us explain how nutrition and heart health work in harmony.
Heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol
Although there is not one single cause, an unhealthy diet is a known contributing risk factor for heart disease, so paying attention to what you eat without slipping into diet culture is important. By following a cardiovascular diet plan and settling yourself into a routine, you will be taking a step in the right direction towards reducing your risk of heart disease, among other cardiac issues.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease is characterised by the narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and the gradual build up of fatty deposits inside the artery walls. This can cause discomfort and pain due to the reduced amount of blood reaching the heart, and this can develop further if the fatty deposits come into contact with your blood. The blood will clot to try and seal the gap that the fatty plaque is entering the stream through, clotting the artery in the process and ultimately resulting in a heart attack.
The good news is that there are several risk factors that you can control to help reduce your risk of heart disease. Along with eating well for heart nutrition, you can also consider how often you are physically active, the social support around you, your diabetes management and smoking status.
What are cholesterol and high blood pressure?
Other factors that can be controlled when contributing to reducing heart disease risk are cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Cholesterol is a fat that is crucial to many of the metabolic functions in the body and is made in the liver from the food that we eat. This is where eating the best foods for heart health is essential because saturated fats found in butter, red meat, coconut oil and palm oil, and trans fats found in shortening, deep frying oil and margarine, can contribute to raising cholesterol levels. Diets with a high salt intake are also linked to hypertension or high blood pressure, so cutting down on processed food, limiting takeaways and maintaining a balanced diet for cardiac nutrition is a great step towards avoiding heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
With a registered Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist or Dietitian:
New consultations (60 minutes)
Online – £175
Face to face – £200
Follow-up sessions (60 minutes)
Online – £150
Face to face – £180
New consultation and four follow-up sessions
Online – £700 (£75 discount on single bookings)
Face to face – £820 (£100 discount on single bookings)
How nutrition can reinvent your cardiovascular health
Cardiac nutrition may not be your first thought when it comes to food, but by being mindful of the things we eat, we can achieve long-term optimal health. A healthy diet can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but it can also help you with weight management, reduce the risk of diabetes and help you to feel energised. By following a cardiovascular diet plan, your body will receive a balance of food groups that it needs to keep your heart healthy.
Many fad or crash diets that advertise as helping you to be healthier may seem like a good option, but they may have a detrimental effect on your heart nutrition. In general, it is recommended that you eat a balanced diet that provides nutrition for heart health from each of the main food groups, but this doesn’t mean that your heart-friendly diet should be ‘boring’. Although there is no one ‘magic’ food to contribute to heart health, some of the best foods for heart health include:
- Fruits and vegetables – the potassium, fibre and other micronutrients in fruits and vegetables offer protection against heart disease.
- Wholegrains – a high fibre wholegrains diet is related to reduced bad cholesterol and lowered risk of heart disease.
- Oily fish – fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardines and salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids, which increases good cholesterol, improves blood vessel elasticity and thins the blood to avoid clotting.
- Healthy protein sources – use legumes, like beans and lentils in your cooking, and use small amounts of eggs and lean poultry.
- Herbs and spices – swap adding salt to your meals for herbs and spices. Fresh garlic in particular has been found to lower bad cholesterol in the blood, ultimately reducing the risk of heart disease.
This is just a sample of some of the best foods for hearth health and you can find out more in one of our cardiovascular diet plans.
What is a cardiovascular diet plan?
Here at The Keyhole Heart Clinic, we have a dedicated team of Registered Dietitians and Cardiac Nutritional Therapists who specialise in cardiovascular health and heart nutrition. Whether you’re looking for a second opinion on a recent diagnosis or you simply have questions about cardiac nutrition, they are always happy to help.
They also offer tailored cardiovascular diet plans, which will take your dietary and allergy requirements into account, making sure that you benefit as much as possible. Each cardiovascular diet plan will vary between individuals, depending on the results of your initial consultation with our registered dietitian, but each will be specific to the area of cardiac nutrition that you want to address. Our specialist team expertly combine new and advanced nutritional protocols with a clinical evidence base to provide you with innovative, high quality care.
The cardiovascular diet plan may also include other lifestyle changes alongside the nutrition for heart health, such as an exercise regime and advice for quitting smoking. This means you can be sure that no matter what your main heart health concern is, our expert team will help and guide you every step of the way.
If you would like to see what other patients have had to say about their experience at The Keyhole Heart Clinic, you can read through our testimonials. Or if you’re ready to speak to our dietitians about a cardiovascular diet plan, please do not hesitate to contact us.