What Can You Do
Eat a healthy balanced diet - eating a healthy diet can reduce your risk of CHD, reduce your risk of gaining weight and getting diabetes, as well as reduce you blood pressure and cholesterol. This includes:
- Reducing your fat intake – especially limit your intake of saturated fats (cakes, biscuits, fatty meats, meat pies and sausages, cream etc.) – these are calorie dense and contribute to the fatty deposits within the arteries.
- Eat more high fibre foods - especially fruit and veg (5 portions per day) and wholegrain breads and cereals – these provide us with the energy plus have the vitamins and minerals we need.
- Limit the amount of salt that you eat - this includes limiting the amount of processed food you eat as these are often very high in salt – a high salt intake is linked to high blood pressure. Limit your salt intake to 6g/1 teaspoon per day.
Maintain a healthy weight – getting to and maintaining a healthy weight reduces your risk of heart disease by helping to manage and prevent conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, which increase your risk of CHD.
Reduce or eliminate alcohol - drinking more than the recommended limits (2-3 units/day for women, or 3-4 units/day for men) can have a harmful effect on your heart including; high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms or damage to your heart muscle. Additional alcohol is calorie dense so it also affects your ability to maintain or lose weight.
Smoking – stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart (smokers are two times more likely to have heart attack). It is never too late to give up and has a lot of great benefits.
Manage stress – stress is not directly linked to your risk of heart disease. However people often use smoking, alcohol or overeating as a coping mechanism for stress increasing the risk of developing CHD.
Keep or become physically active – Being active helps lower your risk of coronary heart disease because it:
- exercises your heart, helping to keep it strong
- helps lower your cholesterol – a fatty substance in your blood which can cause your arteries to clog up
- helps lower your blood pressure, which means your arteries are less likely to clog up.
It can also help you feel more relaxed, have more energy and give you a sense of achievement.
To stay healthy the Chief Medical Officer recommends Adults aged 19-64 should try to be active daily and should do: