As with a lot of medical conditions, diet plays a huge part. Coronary heart disease is often caused by fatty deposits building up on the walls of arteries around the organ. Therefore, a diet full of fatty foods can put you at greater risk.
“Studies show that eating three grams of soluble fibre a day – the amount you would get from three apples or three bowls of porridge (28 gram servings) – can help lower cholesterol,” she said.
“You can increase your fibre intake by eating more fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, beans and other pulses, and switching to wholegrain pasta and bread.
“Oats are another example of cholesterol reducing foods, because they contain natural sugars called beta-glucans, proven to help lower cholesterol.”
Doctor McClymont also advised cutting back on saturated fats.
She explained: “Eating a diet high in saturated fats increases the risk of high cholesterol.
“These fats are found in meat, cheese and other animal-based foods, as well as some vegetable oils like palm and coconut oil.
“A review of the evidence, which looked at 15 studies with more than 56,000 participants, found cutting saturated fat intake reduced the risk of CVD by 17 percent.
“Eating omega-3 fatty acids (found in oily fish like salmon and herring) may stop cholesterol from building up on artery walls so it can be helpful to include one serving a week in your diet.”
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Making small changes to your diet can help.“
Switching to unsaturated oils like rapeseed, sunflower and olive oils and reducing the amount of overall fats you use can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by 30 percent,” she added.
“Choosing leaner cuts of red meat (and eating less of it), and switching to low or lower-fat dairy products helps too.
“It’s also a good idea to grill, poach or steam food instead of frying, whenever you can.”
According to the NHS, the most common symptoms of coronary heart disease are chest pain (angina) and breathlessness.
It says: “A severe angina attack can cause a painful feeling of heaviness or tightness, usually in the centre of the chest, which may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.
“If your arteries become completely blocked, it can cause a heart attack (myocardial infarction).
“Heart attacks can permanently damage the heart muscle and, if not treated straight away, can be fatal.”