Heart disease: Three foods you should cut down on or risk heart attack and failure

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease

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In the UK, one in eight men and one in 15 women die from coronary heart disease, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) points out, but what exactly is it? When the blood vessels narrow due to fatty deposits, oxygenated blood struggles to reach the heart muscle. As such, if the blood supply is cut off by a blockage in the blood vessel, then the heart muscle is starved of oxygen and heart cells begin to die; this is a heart attack.

Also known as a myocardial infarction, in the UK, as many as 100,000 hospital admissions take place each year due to this health complication.

That’s the equivalent of 280 people being rushed off to hospital each day.

Nowadays, at least seven out of 10 people who have a heart attack survive, but lasting damage can occur.

The BHF pointed out that a damaged heart may not pump blood around the body properly.

READ MORE: Heart attack: Certain facial features could be hinting you’re at risk – what to look for


This is known as heart failure, with more than 650,000 people in the UK currently on their GP’s heart failure register.

While incurable, the NHS added that the symptoms of heart failure can be controlled.

Symptoms of heart failure:

  • Breathlessness after activity or at rest
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Finding exercising exhausting
  • Swollen ankles and legs.

Many people who have heart disease will need to take numerous types of medications in order to manage the condition.

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The condition will limit the activities you are able to do and, eventually, it is fatal.

How to reduce your risk of heart failure

Three ingredients known to contribute to fatty deposits along blood vessel walls are saturated fats, salt, or sugar, the NHS certified.

Thus, if you already have heart disease, the best course of action is to limit such foods.

Saturated fats

Saturated fats can be found in:

  • Butter, ghee, suet, lard, coconut oil and palm oil
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Fatty cuts of meat
  • Sausages
  • Bacon
  • Cured meats like salami, chorizo and pancetta
  • Cheese
  • Pastries, such as pies, quiches, sausage rolls and croissants
  • Cream, crème fraîche and sour cream
  • Ice cream
  • Coconut milk and coconut cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Chocolate and chocolate spreads.

How to cut down on saturated fats

Aim for products on supermarket shelves, such as sandwiches, that are colour coded green when it comes to saturated fat content.

Opt to cook lower-fat meats, such as mince, if you are a meat eater – and drain the fat before adding other ingredients.

Also swap snacks such as chocolate and pastries for fruit or a small handful of unsalted nuts.


To enjoy a lower-salt diet, one must realise the dangers of adding salt to your chips, for example.

Salt can increase blood pressure, which further damages blood vessels and increases the risk of a life-threatening stroke.

It’s not only around the dinner table where you need to be aware of salt, however, as 75 percent of the salt we eat is hidden in everyday foods.

Examples include bread, breakfast cereals, and ready meals, so it’s important to look at nutrition labels.

If you would like help with your nutrition, you could ask your doctor to refer you to a dietician.

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