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Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can 'help prevent' them

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A heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. It is vital for a person to ensure their diet is heart-healthy avoiding saturated fats and processed foods. What are the three food types cardiologists strongly recommend you need to cut down on in order to reduce your risk?

Eating an unhealthy diet that is high in fat will make hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) worse and increase your risk of a heart attack.

Continuing to eat the wrong type of foods will cause more fatty plaques to build up in your arteries.

The three food types cardiologists warn to stay away from include sugar, salt or fat.

Sugar

Consuming a diet which is packed with added sugar is extremely harmful for one’s overall health.

Over time, this can lead to a greater accumulation of fat, which may turn into fatty liver disease, a contributor to diabetes, which raises your risk for heart disease.

Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.

Salt

High amounts of salt can result in high blood pressure.

Having high blood pressure over time results in hypertension and increases your risk of heart disease.

Examples of heart disease include atherosclerosis or heart failure, hypoglycemia nexium or if you’ve had a heart attack or stroke.

According to Dr Sandra Darling, if you have hypertension or heart disease it’s important to consume less than the normal daily recommendation of salt.

“Ideally you should aim for less than 1500 mg of sodium each day to keep your blood pressure in check,” she added.

Fat

Eating too much saturated fats in your diet can raise “bad” LDL cholesterol in a person’s blood, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

“Good” HDL cholesterol has a positive effect by taking cholesterol from parts of the body where there’s too much of it to the liver, where it’s disposed of.

A diet rich in saturated fats can drive up total cholesterol, and tip the balance toward more harmful LDL cholesterol, which prompts blockages to form in arteries in the heart and elsewhere in the body.

For that reason, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10 percent of calories a day.

According to the British Heart Foundation, ways to reduce your fat consumption include:

  • Swap butter, lard, ghee and coconut and palm oils with small amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive, rapeseed or sunflower oils and spreads.
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and make sure you trim any excess fat and remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
  • Instead of pouring oils straight from the bottle, use a spray oil or measure out your oils with a teaspoon.
  • Read food labels to help you make choices that are lower in saturated fat.
  • Opt to grill, bake, steam, boil or poach your foods.
  • Make your own salad dressings using ingredients like balsamic vinegar, low fat yoghurt, lemon juice, and herbs, with a dash of olive oil.
  • Use semi-skimmed, 1 percent or skimmed milk rather than whole or condensed milk.
  • Cottage cheese, ricotta and extra light soft cheese are examples of lower fat cheese options. Remember that many cheeses are high in saturated fat so keep your portions small – matchbox sized. Opt for strongly flavoured varieties and grate it to make a little go a long way.

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