Heart attack: Healthy swaps for saturated fats, meat and salt will help to reduce risk

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Heart attacks happen when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked, usually by a build-up of fatty plaques called cholesterol. Heart attacks fall under the umbrella of cardiovascular disease (CVD), which generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels. By making a few diet and food swaps, a person’s risk will be significantly reduced.

Red meat for fish

Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, veal and venison, and processed meat is classified as anything which has been modified by smoking, curing, or adding salt or preservatives, such as bacon, ham, sausages or salami.

A study found that when it comes to unprocessed red meat, the risk of heart and circulatory diseases increased by 3 percent with every two servings per week, and the risk of early death increased by 3 percent.

Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients in fish may benefit heart health and reduce the risk of dying of heart disease.

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Less salt more herbs

Too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart disease and stroke.

The NHS recommends adults should eat no more than 6g (around one teaspoon) of salt per day.

Salt, or sodium, has been found to increase the risk of having a heart attack because it holds excess fluid in the body, creating an added burden on the heart.

Reducing the amount of salt, you add to food or while cooking is a good first step. Much of the added salt one consumes comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups, baked goods and frozen dinners.

If a person enjoys the convenience of canned soups and prepared meals, it’s important to look for ones with reduced sodium.

Dr Louis Levy, head of nutrition science at Public Health England, said: “The Mediterranean style diet in this study is in fact similar to official UK advice, as shown in the Eatwell Guide. 

“We also recommend cutting back on sugary, fatty and salty food and drinks and being mindful of calories to help protect your heart and general health.

“Exercise has also shown major benefits in helping to aid in a reduction in heart attack risk.”

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