An analysis of 6,000 adults by French scientists revealed that different sources of fibre tackle different heart disease risk factors. Your best bet is to get a variety of wholegrains, which are good for regulating your weight-to-height ratio as well as your blood pressure; fruits, which help reduce belly fat and blood pressure; vegetables, which help lower homocysteine levels; and nuts and seeds, which help keep blood sugar levels stable.
Lose the lard
You know being overweight puts a strain on your heart, but it’s not your weight that does it, it’s the fat. Fat cells release C-reactive protein (CRP), which prompts cells lining the artery walls to become inflamed. Cut your calorie intake by just 300 a day to lose a pound or more each week.
A diet that’s varied will keep you living healthily for far longer. Researchers analysed studies on the cardiovascular benefits of various foods and came up with a daily diet, called the Polymeal, which could reduce your risk of heart disesase by 76%. The Polymeal consists of: four or five servings of fruits and vegetables, 100g of dark chocolate, 75g of almonds, one or two cloves of garlic and 150ml of wine, plus fish four times a week could increase life expectancy by as many as six years, even if you start at 50. Try adding these ingredients to your diet to lower your risk.
Getting at least one billion healthy bacteria in your daily diet and you’ll not only help your digestion, you’ll also help prevent disease.
Pick a sunflower
Eating just a handful of sunflower seeds can help beat heart disease. Research from McGill University shows that a combination of plant sterols, found in sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and walnuts too, and exercise keeps bad cholesterol levels lower than doing either one alone. The lead researcher Peter Jones recommends exercising 30 minutes three times a week and adding 2g of plant sterols to your daily diet. That’s just one handful of sunflower seeds.