Heart disease: Being overweight can increase risk – foods to include to reduce risk

Dr Chris on the link between paracetamol and heart disease

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Diet is key for most health conditions relating to either increasing or decreasing your risk. By eating more “good” fats low in the glycaemic index you can help reduce the key determining factor when it comes to your risk of heading towards heart disease.  

Even if a person has healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels, being overweight or obese is still associated with a higher risk of coronary heart disease.

That’s according to an analysis of data from more than half a million people in Europe, of whom more than 7,600 experienced coronary heart disease incidents, including heart attacks.

The study was published in European Heart Journal.

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Being overweight can lead to fatty material building up in your arteries (the blood vessels that carry blood to your organs).

If the arteries that carry blood to your heart get damaged and clogged, it can lead to a heart attack.

In addition, overweight and obesity can be related to some cancers, gallbladder disease and osteoarthritis.

Ioanna Tzoulaki, of Imperial College London, and colleagues compared each person’s body mass index with whether they were metabolically “healthy” or “unhealthy”.

People were classed as the latter if they had three or more of a range of metabolic markers, such as high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of “good” cholesterol, or a large waist circumference.

Taking a range of factors into account, the team found that, compared to healthy people of a normal weight, those classed as unhealthy had double the risk of coronary heart disease – regardless of whether they were a normal weight, overweight or obese.

“I think there is no longer this concept of healthy obese,” says Tzoulaki.

“Our study shows that, if anything, people with excess weight who might be classed as ‘healthy’ haven’t yet developed an unhealthy metabolic profile.

“That comes later.”

With this in mind, finding methods to reduce your weight is more critical than ever.

According to Healthline, proven ways to help reduce obesity include:

  • Consume less “bad” fat and more “good” fat
  • Consume less processed and sugary foods
  • Eat more servings of vegetables and fruits
  • Eat plenty of dietary fibre
  • Focus on eating low–glycaemic index foods
  • Get the family involved in your journey
  • Engage in regular aerobic activity.

For foods classified as “good” fat and low on the glycaemic index, these include:

  • Avocado
  • Green vegetables
  • Kidney beans
  • Oat breakfast cereals
  • Lentils
  • Chickpeas
  • Fatty fish
  • Nuts.

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