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Healthy Eating Guide

5 simple ways to start a healthy diet

A healthy diet can be a big massive step towards reducing your risk of developing heart disease.

What is a healthy diet? 

Prevention is better than cure and a healthy diet can not only reduce your chances of developing heart disease, but also protect your heart from further problems if you’ve already been diagnosed. It’s never too late to start eating healthily, and a good diet eating healthily can also protect against some cancers and diabetes.

Eating for your heart 

Eating well can help protect you against diabetes and some cancers as well as heart disease, keep your weight in check and lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Make sure you include plenty of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods, like wholegrain bread, pasta and rice, and reduce the amount of saturated fat, salt and sugar that you include in your diet. It’s easy to eat properly and healthy food is delicious.

5 simple ways to start a healthy diet: 

1. Fruit and vegetables

Eat at least five portions of fruit and veg a day. They can be fresh, frozen, juiced, dried or tinned, and cooked or raw. Try to have a variety.

2. Fats

Fats are made up of a combination of saturated fats and unsaturated fats - polyunsaturated and monounsaturtaed fats. Choosing the right type of fat is important for heart health.

Eating too much saturated fat can raise your blood cholesterol levels especially the LDL ‘bad’ level cholesterol. This can increase your risk of coronary heart disease.

So, to help your heart stay healthy:

  • Cut right down on saturated fats and replace with small amounts of unsaturated fats such as olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils and small amounts of unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Reduce the total amount of fat you eat .
  • Eat at least one portion of oily fish such as salmon and mackerel a week. Oily fish is rich in omega-3-fats which are beneficial for heart health.
  • Avoid foods containing trans fats.

3. Oily fish

Eat at least two portions of fish a week, and make one portion an oily fish, such as mackerel, trout or salmon. Or, if you've had a heart attack, aim for 2-3 portions of oily fish a week. Making this small change to your diet could improve your chances of survival after a heart attack. You can find more information about oily fish on our Heart Matters Magazine.

4. Salt

Reducing salt will help you maintain a lower blood pressure, which in turn may reduce your risk of coronary heart disease – time to bin the salt grinder and use herbs to season your food instead.

5. Alcohol

Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure and may make you pile on the pounds and can also damage your heart muscle.

Heart Healthy recipes

Buy our healthy eating cookbooks

Eating the right amount

Buy a diet plate to control your portions

More about healthy eating

Read more on our main BHF website. Read about getting active.