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Eating well

For vascular health

Bayer AG and HEART UK are partnering to help people with risk factors for vascular disease learn more about improving their diet and managing their vascular health.

HEART UK Charity: Charity Registration No: 1003904. The company is registered in England & Wales.

Why it’s important to eat well

A healthy diet can help with your heart health, weight management, blood sugar control, blood pressure and high cholesterol.1

We all have cholesterol in our blood, but when it gets too high it can lead to problems such as atherosclerosis. This is where a fatty substance called plaque builds up in the arteries causing them to narrow and harden, and can lead to blood clots, heart attack and stroke.2,3

Eating a balanced diet is part of maintaining good overall health.4 This includes eating a wide variety of foods in the right proportions to manage our body weight.4

Always consult your doctor or healthcare professional before making any drastic changes to your diet.

Feature recipe videos

Watch our tasty recipes come to life, with instructional videos on our 3 favourite recipes!

Banana and Blueberry Oat Muffins

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Crusted Salmon Fillets

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Healthy Spaghetti Bolognese

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Here are some principles you should try and aim for to achieve a balanced diet. 5,6,7

Choose wholegrain and high fibre starchy foods and include them at every meal

  • Swap refined carbs such as white flour, sugars and foods made from them e.g. sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits and sweets for wholegrains and high fibre varieties e.g. wholemeal bread, wholegrain breakfast cereal, wholegrain pasta, brown rice and potatoes with skin on.

Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins

  • Include more plant proteins into your diet such as beans, peas, lentils, soya mince, and nuts.
  • Aim for 2 portions of fish every week, 1 of which should be oily, such as sardines, pilchards, salmon or mackerel.
  • If meat is eaten, choose lean cuts, and watch the quantities.
  • Have red meat less frequently and watch your portions – one serving should be no more than 70g (the size of your palm).
  • Swap some, or all, of the meat in recipes with beans, lentils, soya.
  • Avoid processed meat like bacon, ham and sausages.

Reduce saturated fat. Choose unsaturated oils and spreads, and eat them in small amounts

  • There’s good evidence that replacing saturated fats with some unsaturated fats can help to lower your cholesterol level.8
  • Remember, all types of fat are high in calories and should be eaten sparingly, especially if you are managing your weight.

Cut down on foods high in fat (particularly saturated fat), salt and added sugars

  • These aren’t needed in our diet, so should be eaten less often and in smaller amounts.
  • This includes most highly processed foods e.g. savoury snacks, sweets, chocolates, cakes and biscuits, ready meals and take-aways, processed meats etc.
  • Cutting back on foods high in salt helps to maintain normal blood pressure.9

Simple swaps to help you eat well

When it comes to eating well, small changes can make a big difference. Swapping your usual ingredients for similar but healthy alternatives can help to improve the quality of your diet. Switching from refined carbs to wholegrains can help increase your fibre intake, whilst replacing foods high in saturated fat with those providing heart healthy unsaturated fat has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels.8 High cholesterol is a risk factor to heart disease.8

Choosing the right foods is easier than you may think. Here are some simple swaps you can make:10

Find out more about modifiable risk factors for CAD and PAD.

What is coronary artery disease (CAD)?

What is peripheral artery disease (PAD)?

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