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Healthy Eating

Attack on fat!

Did you know that an estimated 30% of all deaths from coronary heart disease (CHD) are due to unhealthy diets? CHD claims the lives of one in six women and one in four men every year in the UK alone - that's 125,000 people.

Many people in the UK eat a diet that includes far too much fat, salt and processed food. Foods high in saturated fat - such as butter, hard cheese and fried foods - can raise your blood cholesterol. High cholesterol can lead up to the 'furring up' and narrowing of arteries with fatty deposits that could cause a heart attack or angina.

Cutting down on fat is a great step towards improving your diet. Make an effort to reduce the total amount of fat you eat and where possible substitute unhealthy saturated fats with small amounts of polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats - such as sunflower oil, olive oil or walnut oil.

Top tips for cutting fat:

Tot up your fat
An average woman can have up to 20g saturated fat per day - and up to 70g total fat. An average man can have up to 30g saturated fat a day- and up to 95g total fat. Roughly speaking, you should try to avoid foods that contain more than 5g saturated fat per portion.

Learn about labels
Help yourself make healthier food choices by checking food labels in the supermarket. Most foods now show nutritional information which can make it much easier to check for hidden fats and salts.

Less is more
If you know that something you really love is high in saturated fat, remember that having a smaller portion will mean less fat. Fill up on low fat foods, such as fruit, vegetables and low fat yoghurts instead.

Out and about
It is often more difficult to keep track of the amount of fat you are eating when you go out to eat. However, this doesn't mean that you should give up trying all together. There are ways that you can make healthier choices without cutting back on your enjoyment.

Slow down on fast food - Choose smaller portions. Grilled chicken, fish or vegetable burgers are a better bet than a hamburger

At the Indian restaurant - Avoid creamy dishes such as korma, masala and dhansak. Choose drier dishes such as tandoori and bhuna instead.

At the Italian restaurant - Avoid creamy or cheesy sauces. Choose
thin based pizzas with vegetable, ham or tuna toppings. Avoid high fat meats like salami or pepperoni and watch out for too much cheese on top.

Cutting back on fat doesn't mean that you have to give up all the foods you love. Making a few small changes will make you feel better, give you more energy and can help you live longer.

Call the British Heart Foundation on: 01604 640 016 for free leaflets including -

'Cut the saturated fat from your diet' a handy fold out booklet containing information to help you make healthier food choices - even when eating out

'So you want to lose weight… for good' a helpful guide to losing weight for both men and women




Healthy Eating

Finding the right balance of food is one of the most effective ways you can look after your body. A poor diet is said to play a part in one third of cancers. People who eat enough food and vegetables have a much less risk of cancer than overweight people or those who drink lots of alcohol and eat lots of red meat.

High cholesterol is another diet related problem. This can block arteries, leading to coronary heart disease and heart attacks. There are some factors out of our hands which affect cholesterol levels (such as family history) but smoking and eating too much fat also cause a lot of damage.

How to relieve pressure from your heart:
Avoid excess saturated fat (found in meat, full-fat milk and cheese, butter and some vegetable oils)

Avoid excess salt in your meals. Too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.

Eat fewer salty snacks (such as crisps)

Sugar:
Too much sugar can harm your teeth. When you eat sugar, it causes your mouth to produce acid which can attack enamel in the teeth and cause cavities. Try not to eat too many sweets and drink too many fizzy drinks and ensure that calcium is an integral part of your diet (milk, for example, can help with this.) Vitamin D is also vital for bone structure as well as teeth.

The following foods are good sources of calcium:
Bread
Low-fat cheese
Milk
Fish
Yoghurt
Broccoli
Blackcurrants

Achieving a balanced diet:
There are five groups of food:
  • Fruit and vegetables. 5 portions per day is recommended.
  • Meat and fish. A moderate amount per day is recommended.
  • Bread, cereals and potatoes. Try not to supplement these foods with fat.
  • Fatty and sugary foods. Try not to eat these too often.
  • Milk and dairy products. Have some of these foods every day.
Eat more starchy foods.
Starch is found in foods such as bread, potatoes, rice and pasta. This can reduce the amount of fat and increase the amount of fibre in your diet.

Eat more fruit and vegetables.
The minimum suggestion is five portions per day, not including potatoes. As they are low in energy, they can be used in slimming diets and will supplement fibre and vitamin C supplies in a normal diet.

Try to avoid fatty meat or grill meat to reduce fat intake.

Try to use low fat versions of common foods, dairy products for example.

Take notice of your drinking habits. Three to four units per day will not cause any harm for men, neither will two or three for women.
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