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Healthy Eating for your Heart

Foods can often be high in salt, fat, saturated fat and sugars, but many people struggle to understand nutrition labels on food packaging.

We know that what you eat can affect your chances of having a stroke. Eating your 5 a day and having plenty of fibre can reduce your stroke risk. But high-fat foods can raise your cholesterol and a lot of salt in your food can cause high blood pressure, the biggest risk factor for stroke.

Simply adjusting what you eat can reduce your risk of stroke, as well as lifting your mood and giving you more energy.

Eating healthily needn’t be boring. It’s an opportunity to experiment with foods you haven’t tried before. Below are some tips to help, and you can find out more in our Healthy eating and stroke factsheet.

1. Don’t miss breakfast – you will feel healthier and snack less. Fresh fruit on top of your cereal or porridge is a great way to enjoy one of your five a day.
2. Surrender the salt! Many pre-prepared meals contain huge amounts of ‘hidden’ salt – so check the food labels. Try adding herbs like coriander and basil, or spices like paprika, chilli and black pepper to season your food.
3. Want to lower your cholesterol? Try eating more high-fibre foods likes beans, peas, nuts and oily fish (salmon and mackerel are good options), as well as wholegrains, such as oats. Use olive oil-based spreads rather than butter and try grilling your food rather than frying it. Always drain away excess oil or fat.
4. Switch white pasta and rice for wholewheat equivalents. You’ll have more energy, feel full for longer and lower your risk of stroke.
5. Keep a bowl of fruit handy. That way, you’ll always have healthy snacks to hand.
6. If you enjoy the occasional takeaway, try substituting creamy dishes with healthier options.
7. A food diary can be a great way to keep track of what you are eating. You can use it to see what adjustments you need to make and to motivate you.
8. Use smaller plates and bowls to stay in control of your portion sizes.a

To know more on this topic, watch the following videos:

REFERENCE:
a. Extract of an article originally posted on www.stroke.org.uk

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