These are my top 10 foody tips for a healthy heart:

1. Breakfast on Oats.

Oats are a versatile, quick and delicious option for breakfast.  Their soluble fibre can help reduce cholesterol levels, a special type of fibre called Beta Glucans may be important for heart health while at the same time being beneficial for weight management.  You will also find the minerals magnesium and potassium in your daily bowl of porridge, these minerals contribute to a healthy heartbeat.

2. Pay attention to your portion sizes

Make portion control and eating less easy by downsizing your plates, mugs, bowls and utensils, use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon and this will also slow down your eating, which can help you recognise when you have eaten enough, so you know when to stop before you are overfull.

3. Add some beans to your lunchtime soup.

Adding beans to your soup at lunchtime adds some soluble fibre to your diet helping to lower cholesterol.  Lentils also give the same benefits, with both filling us up and keeping us satisfied for longer.

4. Get nutty about nuts!

Nuts make a good snack as they contain unsaturated fats that are heart healthy and can also help in weight management when consumed in portion controlled amounts.  You only need a very small amount to enjoy their benefits. Almonds, pecans, walnuts and Brazils are all good choices for the heart.

 5. Eat a salad before your dinner.

Boost your daily nutrient profile by adding a salad to your day before dinner.  Salads containing a variety of colourful vegetables add fibre, vitamins and minerals to your diet, for example, dark green leafy vegetables contain folate, tomatoes are high in lycopene and yellow peppers contain vitamin C , all great for the heart.

6. Add Heart Healthy Olive Oil to that salad.

Heart healthy mono-unsaturated fat can be found in olive oil.  Mix it with some balsamic vinegar and wholegrain mustard to make a tasty dressing.  Watch portion sizes too, 1 tablespoon is plenty poured over your salad.

7. Get into the kitchen and cook from scratch.

People who cook their own meals from scratch tend to be healthier than those who don’t.  When you use ready meals, eat out or rely on takeaways, you have no control over the calories, fats, sugar and salt in your food.  Portion control also tends to be lost when dining out.  Treat yourself to one of my fabulous cook books for some healthy recipe inspiration!

8. Include oily fish in your diet.

Salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines are all oily fish that contain heart protective omega-3 fatty acids.  Add flavour with a squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh herbs such as dill or chives.

9. Get crazy about cauliflower.

Not only supportive of your liver, cauliflower a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli and Brussel sprouts, is high in fibre, low in calories and an excellent source of potassium.  Grate it raw over your salad for a potassium and fibre boost or roast it whole in the oven to bring out the flavour.  Yum!

10. The way to every woman’s heart – Chocolate!

Dark chocolate can help heart health as it is rich in flavonols and phytochemicals which may reduce heart disease risk.  Some research indicates that people who eat dark chocolate have lower rates of heart disease than those who don’t.  However, it all comes back to portion control, so keep it to 1-2 squares per day.

 

Weight loss will reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure levels very quickly contributing to the health of your heart.