Month: January 2015

Coronary Heart Disease

I’ve just submitted my assignment for my module ‘Therapeutic Approaches to Nutrition’ and wanted to share some of my findings.  We were asked to choose a topic ourselves, so I chose one that was close to my heart ❤ – Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Now that’s a subject literally close to my heart, (and the rest of my family), as my father died prematurely of a myocardial infarction at the age of 52 (when I was only 10).

Syl, Val, Pam & Alf

Syl, Val, Pam & Alf

Only now do I understand the biochemical and physiological processes that cause this condition which is one that develops over time, often with no symptoms. Here are some of my findings:

  • Fatty material and cholesterol called plaque builds up in the walls of the coronary arteries.
  • This condition is called atherosclerosis and the fatty material is called atheroma.
  • This narrows or blocks them, limiting or stopping oxygenated blood to the heart.
  • This plaque becomes covered by a fibrous cap which may rupture and cause blood clots which can be fatal (Thomas 2001).
  • Smoking is the major risk factor as it increases permeability of the artery walls contributing to plaque formation (Clancy & McVicar 2009).
  • being overweight, obese, physically inactive, having diabetes and a family history of heart disease, increases your risk.
  • Too much sodium(from eating salt) in the blood impairs the kidneys ability to remove water and extra fluid causes higher blood pressure and if left untreated can severely damage the arteries and kidneys.
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables increases intake of antioxidant vitamins which protect against free radicals.

Here are some practical steps to help reduce the risk of developing CHD.

Steps to reduce saturated fat intake
  • Select lower-fat dairy products
  • Grate cheese instead of slicing it
  • Eat chicken without the skin
  • Select leaner cuts of meat or trim the fat off
  • Use turkey mince instead of beef or lamb mince
  • Compare labels and choose the one with less saturated fat
  • Use sunflower or olive oil instead of butter or lard
  • Eat less pastry, cakes and biscuits
  • Switch from whole milk to semi skimmed, 1% or skimmed milk
  • Eat healthier snacks like fruit
Food Standards Agency (2009)
Cardio-protective Diet Features
  • Eat 2 or more portions of fish weekly, 1 portion should be oily
  • Eat at least 5 portions of a mixture of fruit and vegetables each day
  • Replace saturated fat with monounsaturated fat (e.g.rapeseed or olive oil)
  • Replace some dietary fat energy by increasing complex carbohydrate intake
  • Divide fat intake between at least 3 regular daily meals
  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake – 3 or less units a day for women & 4 or less for men
  • Limit salt intake.
Reproduced from Daniels L. (2002) Diet and coronary heart disease: advice on a cardioprotective diet. British Journal of Community Nursing. 7, 7.


Me and my Dad X

Me and my Dad X

There are also lots of studies recommending the `Mediterranean diet’ to help prevent CHD – you can find out more via my previous post

More information is available via The British Heart Foundation.

Approximately 46,500 men and just under 34,000 women died of this disease in the UK, in 2010, sad, shocking, preventable!


Love you Alfred Booth X



Happy New Year 2015

I love new years day! It’s a time for new beginnings, for looking forward, for planning how to get healthier, for packing away your party shoes and putting your new running shoes on, or at least thinking about putting them on!

Screen Shot 2015-01-01 at 20.49.15My healthier steps include:

  • Dryathlon – I had my last glass of fizz just before midnight and won’t be touching another drop for at least a month.
  • I’ve registered for a 10k run at Tatton Park on 1st March with my friend Janet (it’s her first 10k) so need to get training.
  • My sons gave me the Good Housekeeping Super Soups; sumptuous soups for every day’ book for Christmas. It has lovely recipes so I’m going to work my way through that. Thanks Tom & Matt
  • I’m doing research into mindful eating (thanks Dinah for the info) – fascinating subject, will post here when I know more.
  • Practicing my yoga poses, ready for my yoga retreat! (nothing booked yet – Geraldine get yourself a yoga mat!)
  • I’ve also bought my work colleagues a new year present – a pedometer each!! I do hope they like them.


This year I need to be fitter and healthier than ever as this is a big year from me, as I finish my Nutrition and Health degree and make some life changing career decisions. I’d really love to hear what your healthy plans are for the new year.

Here’s to a healthy, happy 2015.

Cheers (toasting you with a champagne glass full of fizzy water topped with a fresh raspberry).

Val X