Coronary heart disease is the #1 cause of death worldwide. It involves reducing blood flow to the heart muscle caused by the build-up of plaque in the heart’s arteries. Risk factors for coronary heart disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol. We HAVE control over most of these risk factors, and now is a great time to reflect and make the necessary changes we need to make to live a healthier, longer life.




Sodium is the mineral in salt responsible for increasing blood pressure. Reducing sodium levels goes beyond adding less table salt to your plate at the dinner table – it also means you need to be conscious of hidden sodium in processed foods by checking food labels.

The average person should consume no more than 2,300mg of sodium per day, which is about one teaspoon salt. 

To reduce sodium intake, opt for ‘no added salt’ or ‘low sodium’ options where you can, like Mrs. Dash sodium-free seasoning blends. 

Different salts' sodium content varies slightly, with table salt ranking the highest at 39.1%, followed by Maldon salt and Himalayan pink salt. Celtic salt, a type of sea salt that originated in France, contains the least amount of sodium – about 5% less than table salt. 



Heart disease goes hand in hand with diabetes. If you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to have or develop heart disease as someone without diabetes, as high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves that control your heart. 

Eating a balanced diet of low glycemic index (low GI) foods will help stabilize your blood glucose levels, curbing hunger pangs. Oats will keep your blood glucose levels steady for much longer than high sugar instant cereal and prevent you from over-snacking, which assists with overall blood sugar balance. 

Feeling fuller for longer may also have some people eat less for the rest of the day, aiding in maintaining a healthy weight, great for heart health, and those managing diabetes. 



Cholesterol is a waxy substance essential to the body to insulate nerves, help build new cells, and produce hormones, but too much could be detrimental to your health. 

Too much cholesterol causes a build-up in your arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis, a form of heart disease. The build-up causes arteries to narrow, which slows down blood flow to the heart.  

There are two forms of cholesterol, the bad one, known as low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and the good one, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL). LDL cholesterol clogs the arteries while HDL works to clear cholesterol from your arteries and direct it back to your liver, where it’s broken down.





Foods high in saturated fats contain LDL cholesterol and are mainly identifiable by being solid at room temperature, e.g., butter, coconut oil, and pork fat. Limit foods high in these ingredients like burgers and pastries to keep the bad cholesterol levels in check. 

Foods with unsaturated fats are generally higher in HDL than LDL cholesterol and are (in moderation) a welcome addition to a balanced diet to help lower LDL cholesterol. Unsaturated fats are most often plant-based, like olive oil, peanut oil, seeds, and avocados, though fish is also an excellent source.





People who suffer from obesity require more blood to supply their bodies with oxygen and nutrients, which requires their bodies to work harder and thereby increasing blood pressure. High blood pressure is a common cause of heart attacks, which is more prevalent in obese persons. 

Maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet can help reduce the chances of suffering a heart attack and have a healthier heart. 

A simple way of maintaining or working towards a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) is to consume fewer calories than what your body burns in a day. The average man should consume around 2,600 calories per day vs. the average woman around 2,000. 

Reduce calories by consuming larger low-calorie meals (like salad) and smaller high-calorie meals (like fast food). Swop high-fat proteins like bacon for leaner ones like sardines or tuna and opt to add more plant-based meals to your diet. 



Far too many premature heart-related deaths are due to unhealthy lifestyle choices. The good news is that we do have control over our heart health by making positive lifestyle changes. A study showed that over 55,000 people with healthy lifestyle habits like balanced diets, healthy bodyweights, and regular exercise lowered their heart disease risk by nearly 50%.