Heart Disease is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK. Around 2.7 million people in the UK live with coronary heart disease.  Just over half of these people are under 75.

The term Heart Disease encompasses several types of conditions including; heart attacks, stroke and disturbance to your heart’s rhythm.  In most cases, Heart Disease is completely preventable. The earlier you can recognise the symptoms and minimise the risk factors, the easier it is to reverse.


  • Blood pressure above 140/90
  • LDL blood cholesterol level over 2.6mmol/l
  • HDL blood cholesterol above 1.6mmol/l
  • Total cholesterol below 5.2mmol/l
  • Triglyceride levels over 1.7 mmol/l
  • HbA1c percentage below 6.5% (which tells you how well your body is coping with its blood sugar levels)
  • Diet high in sugar and salt
  • High hip to waist ratio
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Prolonged periods of stress
  • Genetics

  • Chest pain or discomfort, which may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, stomach or back
  • A dull pain, ache or ‘heavy’ feeling in your chest
  • Chest pain or discomfort which feels like indigestion but makes you feel generally unwell
  • Feeling sick, sweaty, breathless, lightheaded, dizzy or generally unwell as well as pain or discomfort in your chest
And what about saturated fat?

A very interesting subject which really deserves a separate post. But in short, LDL cholesterol is made up of two sub particles. Saturated fats such as the ones we find in red meat, butter and eggs, have been shown to raise large LDL sub particles.  Recent evidence suggests that these particles don’t appear to cause damage to our arteries. Small LDL sub particles, however, do cause damage.  Levels of small LDL sub particles increase when we eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugar.  Yes, we should limit the amount of saturated fats we eat,  but cutting them out and replacing them with low fat / high sugar alternatives will do you more harm than good. Hydrogenated should be avoided completely.

How to find out your hip to waist ratio

  1. Measure your hips
  2. Measure your waist
  3. Divide your waist measurement by your hip measurement
  4. A ratio of 1.0 or more in men or 0.85 or more in women indicates too much weight around the middle of your body. This is an increased risk for CVD
Heart friendly foods

  • Antioxidants: carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, mangoes, berries…The more colours you include, the better!
  • Omega 3: wild salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, sardines, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds
  • Wholegrains: brown rice and pastas, quinoa, beans
  • Soluble Fibre: raw fruits and vegetables, oat  or rice bran, flax seeds, psyllium husks raw unsalted nuts and seeds

Heart Protection Strategy

  • Reduce your sugar intake
  • Avoid fried food
  • Avoid products that list hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat or oil on the label
  • Reduce sodium intake
  • Avoid excess alcohol consumption
  • Take regular exercise – At least 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week
  • Give up smoking and avoid second hand smoke
  • Seek ways to relieve stress

Heart Disease is responsible for nearly 74,000 deaths in the UK each year, that’s an average of 200 people each day.  Through good nutrition and healthy lifestyle changes, we can greatly reduce those numbers. Details of your blood cholesterol, triglyceride,  HbA1c and blood pressure can all be obtained as part of a regular GP  blood test and check-up.

Contributed by Kaysha Thomas  (Nutritional Therapist at Lucerne Clinic)


British Heart Foundation: http://www.bhf.org.uk

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: http://ajcn.nutrition.org

Health Defence 2nd Edition – Dr Paul Clayton