It’s no secret that what you eat can play a role in how healthy your heart is. In fact, this is something which we have been aware of for many years although the messages in the media seem to have become very muddled, confusing and conflicting. In light of The British Heart Foundation’s Healthy Eating Week we thought we would share our top tips for small dietary changes which you can make to support your heart health.
Eat Your Monos
We’re often hearing about healthy fats but sometimes it can be difficult to identify what makes a fat healthy. Monounsaturated fatty acids have been shown to have heart protecting benefits as they lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and help to boost HDL (the good cholesterol). Foods such as olives, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds are all rich in monounsaturated fats. Aim for 1-2 portions per day to support your heart health.
You may have heard about omega-3 for brain health but it’s also crucial for supporting a healthy heart. Omega-3 is a type of polyunsaturated fatty acid and has been found to reduce triglycerides (fat droplets) in the blood, reduce cholesterol and blood pressure. Ensure that you’re consuming at least 1 portion of oily fish per week and try and incorporate almonds, walnuts and seeds into your daily diet to boost your omega-3 status. Our Harissa Roast Salmon dish is a great way to pack in your omega-3.
Fibre is commonly associated with supporting healthy digestion and gut function although it can also play a vital role in supporting your heart health too. Fibre can be found in two forms insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is particularly important in helping to lower cholesterol levels. Beans, pulses, nuts, seeds, fruit and vegetables are all key sources of fibre. You should be aiming for around 30g of fibre per day to support a healthy gut and a healthy heart.
Beta-glucans are a type of soluble fibre which have been found to have profound effects on reducing cholesterol levels as they help to bind to cholesterol to prevent it being absorbed. Oats, wholegrains and sea vegetables are rich in beta-glucans. Our banana and hemp pancakes are a simple way to increase your beta-glucan consumption as they’re made with oat bran.
Hydration is very much underestimated when it comes to supporting your heart health. When your body is sufficiently hydrated it’s easier for your heart to pump blood around the body to the working muscles and organs. On the flip side when you’re dehydrated or hypo-hydrated (if we’re getting technical) your heart is required to work much harder to deliver the same blood around the body and you’re increasing the strain on your heart. Aim for around 2L of water per day although if you’re exercising you will need to adjust this accordingly.
There you have our top tips for supporting a healthy heart. Remember you don’t have to do all of these all at once but try and take on one of the challenges. Your heart will thank you for it in the long run!