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
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
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
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
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