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Keep your heart healthy

Tips for heart health Coast Sport

Heart Week 2019

In Australia, cardiovascular disease is a major cause of death, killing one Aussie every 12 minutes. This year Heart Week runs between the 28th April to 4th May, with the aim to encourage more people to understand their risk factors for heart disease and make sustainable changes to reduce their risk.

Currently, approximately three quarters of Australians aged 30-65 years have been told by their doctor they have at least one risk factor for heart disease (high blood pressure and/or cholesterol). This indicates the need for us all to be aware of our potential risk as it is not a disease that only occurs later in life.

Some factors that increase your risk of heart disease include:
High cholesterol

High blood pressure (hypertension)

Family history


Poorly managed diabetes

Being overweight or obese

Physical inactivity

Following an energy dense nutrient poor diet
Below are eight suggestions to reducing your heart disease risk put together by our Dietitian's. This Heart Week we encourage you to adopt at least one positive change to benefit your heart health.

ONE: Ensure you eat 5 serves of vegetables a day.

As less than 10% of Australian’s eat 5 serves of vegetables a day this is one many of us can work on. Vegetables are high in fibre and low in nutrients and can help protect against heart disease. To learn more about increasing vegetable intake see out BACK TO BASICS blog here.

TWO: Eat the right types of fat.

Aim to reduce saturated ‘bad’ fat intake by consuming ‘good’ unsaturated fats. You can do this by:

Snacking on nuts, seeds and nutritious muesli bars rather than cakes and pastries
Use unsaturated oils such as extra virgin olive oil instead of cooking in butter and/or coconut oil
Choose reduced fat dairy products as they are lower in saturated fat
Remove fat from cuts of meat, remove skin from chicken and reduce intake of processed meats such as ham, bacon and salami to <2 times per week

THREE: Eat the right types of fibre.

Diets rich in fibre can help lower cholesterol levels. Aim to eat two serves of fruit, five serves of vegetables and eat wholemeal or wholegrain breads and cereals daily. This ensures our bodies get a range of the types of fibre which are categorised as soluble, insoluble and resistant starch.

FOUR: Use salt reduced products and do not add salt to meals at the table.

There are various salt reduced options on the market, as a guide look for products that have <120mg of sodium (salt) per 100g. Get creative with additional herbs and spices to increase the flavour of your meals. Changing the type of salt you use unfortunately won't change this as salt is salt. It doesn't matter if it is pink, red, black, celtic or natural, it all has the same effect on the body.

FIVE: Be active every day.

Australian physical activity guidelines recommend a minimum of 150-200 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. At the lower end that is only 22 minutes a day! You can always spread this out over the day by going for short walks rather than doing this in one block if you are pressed for time.

SIX: Include plant sterols in your diet.

If you have high cholesterol, plant sterol enriched foods such as margarine spread or Weetbix (cholesterol lowering) can help lower cholesterol levels by a further 10% even if you are taking statins (cholesterol lowering medications).

SEVEN: Reduce alcohol intake.

Consume no more than two standard drinks per day, or no more than four on any single drinking occasion. Some good tips to reduce alcohol intake of an evening is using a smaller glass, going half/half of white wine and mineral water, or spreading a stubby over two small glasses.

EIGHT: Weight Management.

If you are above a healthy weight, reducing weight by even small amounts can have a positive impact on improving your heart health. If you are unsure where to start or have tried various diets with no success this is the best time to see an Accredited Practising Dietitian who are the experts in sustainable weight loss.

This Heart Week, we encourage you to speak to your friends and family about heart health and how you can make sustainable changes to reduce your risk of one of Australian biggest killers. To read more on Heart Week, reducing heart disease risk or calculate your hearts age go to the heart foundation website here.

Book an appointment with one of our Dietitian's by calling 4356 2588 or book online via the button below.

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