Adjustments in diet can help to prevent the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries and reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. In general, aim to:
- Eat carbohydrate foods such as wholegrain bread and cereals and pulses.
- Include large quantities of fruit and vegetable – particularly garlic, onions, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines – in your diet. Aim to eat five portions per day.
- Choose healthy, low-fat protein foods such as poultry, game and oily fish.
- Use monounsaturated fats instead of saturated animal fats. Olive, almond, hazelnut and avocado oils are good sources of monounsaturated fats, as are avocados, almonds and sardines.
- Minimize consumption of hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans fats) and products that contain them, such as biscuits and margarines.
- Use olive oil for cooking, as a salad dressing, and as an alternative to butter.
- Use fresh herbs and garlic to flavour cooked dishes and salads.
- Red wine, drunk in moderation, may raise levels of the protective HDL cholesterol in the blood and help reduce blood clotting.