Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia? With 1 in 6 Australians suffering from heart disease, nutrition plays a big role in prevention.
Risks associated with heart disease include high cholesterol, high blood pressure and being obese/overweight. All of these modifiable risk factors can be altered with a balanced diet. Diet choices are important, especially at those with high risk or those with heart disease.
What role does diet have on my heart?
A poor diet; one high in saturated fats, sugars and salt can put excess strain on the heart and vasculature. For example, a poor diet can lead to plaque building up in the arteries, impacting on blood flow- also known as atherosclerosis. This can alter blood flow around the body, essentially making the heart work harder to pump blood around the body. Obesity is another risk factor associated with heart disease. When fat is accumulated around the stomach, the visceral fat increases the risk of developing heart disease.
A balanced diet combined with exercise is the major lifestyle change that you can make to decrease your risk of developing heart disease. The Australian Heart Foundation recommend eating a diet of varied foods including:
- Vegetables, fruit, whole grains and nuts everyday
- Healthy fat choices- such as avocados, seeds, olive oils
- Drink Water instead of soft drinks
- Limit foods high in salt, sugar and saturated fats
- Keep "sometimes" food to sometimes.
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