Why is healthy eating important?
What we eat can make a big difference to the health of our hearts. We can reduce our risk of developing heart disease by maintaining a healthy body weight and by eating a healthy, well balanced diet which is high in fruit and vegetables, low in salt and fat, particularly saturated fat, and eating at least two portions of fish a week - at least one of which should be oil-rich.
Fat is difficult for the body to use up as energy and is more likely to be stored in the body if eaten in excess. Eating excess fat and being overweight can increase your risk of coronary heart disease.
Types of fats
In addition to thinking about the total amount of fat that we eat, it is also important to think about the types of fat we are eating. The two types of fat that can be related to risk of developing heart disease are saturated fats and trans fats.
Eating too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood which increases the risk of developing heart disease.
Foods that are high in saturated fat:
Trans fats have a similar effect on blood cholesterol as saturated fats - they raise the type of cholesterol in the blood that increases the risk of heart disease.
Trans fats are formed when liquid vegetable oils are turned into solid fats through a process called hydrogenation.
Trans fats may be found in:
More information on fat, tips for cutting down and healthier alternatives can be found in the Healthy Living section of this website.
Why we should cut down:
Eating too much salt can increase your blood pressure which can increase the risk of heart disease and strokes. Eating less salt can help reduce blood pressure. We can all take steps to cut down on salt by shopping wisely and using less salt at home.
It is recommended that we have no more than 6g of salt per day. This is the equivalent of just over one teaspoon of salt. When most people think of salt they think of shaking it on their food at the table or adding it during cooking. But most of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy.
Foods that can be high in salt:
Salt is made up of sodium and chloride. It's the sodium in salt that can be bad for your health. You will usually see sodium included in the nutrition information on food labels.
Salt - sodium x 2.5
More information on salt, tips for cutting down and healthier alternatives can be found in the Healthy Living section of this website.