Eat to beat 6 common problems
Research confirms that by including certain foods in your diet you can help fight many health problems. Good Food's nutritionist, Fiona Hunter, offers practical advice...
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Foods to fight...heart disease
High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease, but several foods can help reduce levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol or boost levels of HDL (good) cholesterol:
- Fruit and vegetables contain vitamins and phytochemicals that help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which reduces the chance of it being deposited in the arteries.
- Beans, pulses and porridge oats contain soluble fibre, which encourages the body to excrete cholesterol before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Nuts help increase levels of HDL cholesterol, as does oil-rich fish, whose omega-3 fatty acids also help to protect the heart by making the blood less sticky and likely to clot. They help to reduce the risk of heart disease, too, by encouraging the muscles lining the artery walls to relax, improving blood flow to the heart.
- A review of studies that looked into the relationship between tea-drinking and heart disease found that people who drank three or more cups a day were 11 per cent less likely to suffer from a heart attack.
- Recent studies have shown that eating 25g soya protein a day can lead to a 10 per cent reduction in both total and LDL cholesterol.
- Alcohol (red wine in particular), when drunk in moderation, has also been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease.
Eat five portions of fruit and veg a day
Have oil-rich fish at least once a week
Choose unsaturated fats rather than saturated
Keep your weight within the ideal range
Aim to do at least 30 minutes exercise at least five times a week
For more information, visit The British Heart Foundation.