Helping to protect against heart disease

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MEDITERRANEAN DIET: Full of fresh fruit and vegetables.

HEART disease is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and US, yet it is believed everyone can do more to help prevent it, simply by making a better choice in the foods you eat.

A nutritional expert has said by eating more micro-nutrients, most chronic diseases won’t exist. So what should you eat?

Omega 3 essential fatty acids Easy for us lucky enough to live in Spain, known for its rich Mediterranean diet and fresh fish.

Eat more oily fish, nuts, seeds and seed oil to help prevent the bad cholesterol. Magnesium It plays a vital role in the production of a type of energy called ATP, which is needed by muscles, including the heart, to relax.

Studies have shown that good levels of magnesium can help prevent strokes and heart attacks. It can be found in nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and pulses.

Coenzyme Q10 Known for helping with energy production alongside Magnesium, Co-Q10 is also a powerful antioxidant and can work well with selenium, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to help protect our arteries from damage.

It is found in meat, eggs and fish. Vitamin D Research has shown that when you are deficient of vitamin D there can be a 40 per cent higher risk of heart disease.

The best source is sunshine, but small doses are also found in fish, some mushrooms and eggs.

Zinc Just like Omega 3 oils, zinc can help prevent inflammation and it has also been shown to have protective properties, particularly for coronary artery disease, and can help improve cardiac function.

Try eating more pumpkin seeds, nuts, seeds and shellfish. Vitamin C Vitamin C, alongside vitamin E, Zinc and Co-Q10 work together to help protect you from cardiovascular disease and cellular damage.

Vitamin C has also been shown to help lower bad cholesterol, so stock up on fresh fruit, particularly berries, parsley and red onions.

Lycopene Lycopene is a carotenoid, which has been shown to help protect against a range of cancers as well as heart disease.

It has many benefits including helping to increase flexibility of arteries and protect them from hardening. It is found in cooked and sundried tomatoes. peppers, papaya and water melon. and red cabbage.

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