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PRESS RELEASE June 2007 EAT YOUR WAY TO A HEALTHY HEART Help A Heart Campaign June 2007 This year the British Heart Foundation launches its ‘Help A Heart Campaign’ in June. High cholesterol is one of the main risk factors associated with serious heart conditions, “but there are steps you can take to reduce that risk”, says dietitian Carolyn Bye. The UK has one of the worst heart attack rates in the world and it is estimated that someone has a heart attack every two minutes. Carolyn, expert dietitian at the country’s leading weight management organisation Slimming World, says: “Obesity and overweight are on the increase in the UK and with them come many associated conditions including high cholesterol and heart disease. We hear a lot about cholesterol on television, in papers and in magazines, but the messages can sometimes seem quite confusing. High cholesterol is commonly thought to be due to a poor diet and whilst in many cases this may be true, it can also be a hereditary condition. The good news is there are a number of things you can do to help reduce high cholesterol.” So what is cholesterol? And how can you improve your cholesterol levels? Carolyn explains: “Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is produced in the body and small amounts are also obtained from the food we eat. The body needs some cholesterol as it is an important part of cell membranes and certain hormones. “Although the body needs cholesterol, having too much in the blood puts you at higher risk of developing coronary heart disease, as it can narrow the blood vessels leading to the heart by gradually building up within the vessel walls. There are two main types of cholesterol in the body, Low Density Lipoproteins (LDL) which can increase you risk of coronary heart disease and High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) which decrease the risk.” It is a common misconception that foods containing cholesterol such as eggs and prawns should be avoided when trying to lower cholesterol levels. However, it is much more important to eat foods that are lower in saturated fat as this has more effect on the body’s blood cholesterol levels. Carolyn’s top tips for improving cholesterol and heart health: Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat you are eating. Saturated fat is commonly found in foods such as fatty meat products, pies, butter, cream, cheese, chocolate and crisps. To reduce your intake, opt for lower fat foods e.g. lean meat, low fat dairy products and limit your intake of cakes and biscuits and foods cooked in saturated fat. Replace some of the saturated fat in your diet for moderate amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are found in cornflower oil, fish oil, olive oil and rapeseed oil. Reduce the amount of trans fats (or hydrogenated fats) you consume. These are generally found in processed foods (where oils have been hydrogenated) such as biscuits and margarine. Increase the amount of soluble fibre in your diet. This is found in oats, beans, pulses, fruits and vegetables and may help to reduce the amount of cholesterol absorbed into the blood stream. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, found in oily fish, are believed to help to prevent the blood from clotting and can protect the arteries carrying the blood. Aim for 1 portion of oily fish per week. Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption, aim to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Try and build regular activity into your daily routines and gradually increase the amount you are doing. Regular exercise can help to improve cholesterol levels in the blood. Look at your alcohol intake. The Department of Health recommend that men should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol per day and women not more than 2-3 units of alcohol per day. The Help A Heart Campaign is organised by the British Heart Foundation and will take place throughout June. The campaign is an opportunity to raise awareness of heart conditions and there are many ways to get involved. To find out more visit www.bhf.org.uk - ends- For more information please contact Amy Henson at Slimming World Publicity on 01773 546101 or alternatively by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Notes to editors Slimming World is the largest and most advanced slimming organisation in the UK. Margaret Miles-Bramwell founded the company in 1969 and there are now more than 5,500 groups held weekly nationwide via a network of 2,500 Slimming World trained Consultants. Slimming World’s healthy eating plan, Food Optimising, and the principles behind Slimming World’s philosophy are based on a deep understanding of the challenges faced by overweight people. Slimming World integrates practical, up-to-date dietary advice with a highly developed support system. Slimming World Consultants receive specific training in dietary aspects of weight management, the role of physical activity in weight control and highly developed training in facilitating behaviour change in a group environment, acknowledged by experts and supported by research as being the most effective way to support change for weight management. In March 2004 and again in 2005 and 2006, Slimming World was named among the ‘Top 100’ Best Small Companies to Work for in the UK by The Sunday Times
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