Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

Cardiovascular disease affects 4.2 million Australians and increases risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart attack. Diet and lifestyle modifications can help to reduce risk, improving health and well-being.

Risk Factors for CVD

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol 
  • Overweight or obese
  • Low fruit and vegetable intake
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Physical inactivity
  • Increased alcohol consumption
  • Smoker 

Ten ways to reduce your risk of heart disease

  1. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption- a minimum of 5 servings of brightly coloured vegetables and 2 servings of seasonal fruit per day. Enjoy with every meal.
  2. Blueberries - they contain constituents known as anthocyanins that act as antioxidants to keep blood vessels healthy – 3 or more servings per week. Delicious in a fruit salad or smoothie.
  3. Include extra virgin olive oil due to it being a rich in monounsaturated fats shown to have protective effects against heart disease. Enjoy as part of a salad dressing with fresh herbs and lemon. 
  4. Include raw, unsalted mixed nuts as they are high in monounsaturated fats lowering risk of heart disease – 5 or more 50g servings per week with best options being almonds and walnuts. Great as a part of a trail mix or thrown in a salad.
  5. Oats – contain beta-glucan fibres that have been shown to reduce cholesterol when consumed for 2 + weeks.  Enjoy with blueberries for breakfast or use them in a smoothie or bircher muesli.
  6. Oily fish – rich in Omega-3 fats lowering risk of heart disease. Aim for 3 servings per week. Try sardines, salmon and trout. 
  7. Beetroot a rich source of nitrates which have been shown to reduce high blood pressure. Enjoy as a juice with carrots and ginger. 
  8. Dark chocolate – rich in antioxidants beneficial for vascular function. Make sure it’s at least 70% dark chocolate. Enjoy as a snack or add cacao to a hot chocolate or smoothie.
  9. Exercise – include 30 minutes of physical activity on a daily basis such as walking, cycling, and swimming – preferably in the sunshine! 
  10. Stress – reduce stress by listening to meditation apps such as Headspace, going for nature walks or take up an enjoyable hobby.

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