Healthy lifestyle, diet beat heart disease

New Delhi: A handful of lifestyle changes like exercise and a healthy diet are key to beating heart disease, experts have said.

Taking more exercise, eating more fruit and vegetables, reducing alcohol intake and slashing the amount of saturated fat in our diet could drastically reduce the rate of deaths caused by the disease.

The healthy living plan, devised by charity Heart UK, could slash the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood - that triggers heart attacks and strokes - by up to a third.

"We know people often find diets difficult to stick to but this is more of a general lifestyle plan. It is flexible, easy to follow and can have dramatic results," the Daily Express quoted the organisation`s chief executive Jules Payne as saying.

The first step in the Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan is to cut out unhealthy foods that are high in fat and sugar.

Reducing intake of saturated animal fats to around 20g a day has been shown to cut cholesterol by up to 10 per cent.

Eating more fruit and vegetables can also lower cholesterol, while eating oily fish will help prevent blood clots from forming.

The plan also offers a `pick `n` mix` choice of four cholesterol-busting foods to add to your daily diet.

These are foods made from soya, such as soya milk; foods containing health-boosting plant sterols, such as vegetable spreads; nuts; and soluble fibre from oats, wholegrains, beans and pulses.

Each of these four foods will lower cholesterol by an average of five per cent and the more foods added to the diet, the bigger the cholesterol reduction.

"If someone followed this plan fully they could see their bad cholesterol levels lowered by up to 35 percent," Payne said.

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