Tag Archives: foods

High blood pressure: Nine foods you should ‘eat less of’ to reduce risk

What should you eat more of to reduce high blood pressure?

Following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet can help you to keep high blood pressure at bay.

“DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that’s designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension),” explains the Mayo Clinic.

According to the health body, the DASH diet encourages you to reduce the sodium in your diet and eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium.

“By following the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure by a few points in just two weeks,” it says.

Read More

High blood pressure warning: The five foods you should avoid

High blood pressure, sometimes called hypertension, rarely displays noticeable symptoms. But this is an added scare as high blood pressure increases your risk of developing serious conditions like heart attacks or strokes. In the UK, around one third of adults have high blood pressure, according to the NHS, although the organisation says many don’t realise it right away. Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different, and what’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else. The only way to check if your blood pressure is high is to have it tested, something everyone should be doing often.


Salt, or specifically the sodium in salt, is a huge contributor to high blood pressure and heart disease.

Table salt is about 40 percent sodium, of which you’re recommended to eat about one teaspoon a day with high blood pressure.

These foods are a major contributor to daily salt intake:

  • Breads and rolls
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
  • Cured meats
  • Soup

READ MORE: High cholesterol: The top three sandwich spreads to help lower it

Processed meats

Processed and deli meats are often packed with sodium as manufacturers cure, season and preserve them with salt.

Even the ones dubbed ‘low salt’ tend to be pretty high in sodium, so try and avoid if you can.

A diet high in salt can upset the normal balance of sodium in your body, leading to fluid retention and subsequently a higher blood pressure.

According to figures from Action on Salt, reducing your sodium intake from 10g a day to 6g could reduce your blood pressure. It could result in a 16 percent reduction in stroke deaths and a 12 percent reduction in coronary heart disease deaths.


Too much alcohol can increase your blood pressure drastically, so don’t be surprised if you’re recommended to cut back on the booze.

Alcohol can also prevent any blood pressure medication you may be taking from working properly through drug interactions.

In addition, many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar and calories, meaning too much of it can contribute to obesity, which in turn increases the risk of hypertension.

If cutting back on alcohol is a difficult feat for you, talk to your GP or doctor about what your options are.

Watchdog targets Kraft Heinz for disparaging healthy foods in ads

A consumer watchdog group has reported Kraft Heinz to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) over advertisements depicting children turning up their noses at healthy foods including vegetables.       

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) said in a news release[1] that it had filed a complaint with the BBB’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), arguing that advertisements from Kraft Heinz including a recent ad for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese violated CARU’s guidelines for ads appearing on children’s networks.

CSPI pointed to CARU’s guidelines which state that advertising on children’s networks “should not discourage or disparage healthy lifestyle choices or the consumption of fruits or vegetables.”


“Kraft Heinz violated these guidelines on multiple occasions by airing an advertisement that disparages vegetables while encouraging consumption of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese,” CSPI’s complaint reads.

“Disparagement of healthy foods in advertising reinforces children’s beliefs that healthy foods do not taste good and should be avoided,” CSPI’s senior policy associate, Sara Ribakove, said in a statement. “Reinforcement of this belief in childhood can lead to negative beliefs about certain foods and poor eating habits later in life.”

A spokesperson for Kraft Heinz contented to The Hill in an emailed statement that the ads mentioned in CSPI’s petition were marketed to parents, and added that they were no longer airing.

“As a founding member of the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Kraft Heinz supported the effort to establish industry standards, publicly pledged to follow parameters around marketing to kids, and remain committed to the responsible advertising outlined in the initiative,” said Lynne Galia.

“The two ads referenced were specifically aimed at parents, not kids, and there are no plans to air either ad beyond 2021 as we continue to evolve our brand campaigns. As done previously, we will continue to assess advertising efforts through the lens of upholding our CFBAI pledge and Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) compliance,” Galia continued.

— Updated at 4:55 p.m.


  1. ^ said in a news release (www.cspinet.org)

[email protected] (John Bowden)

High cholesterol: The foods you need to avoid to reduce your risk of a heart attack

Once cholesterol embeds on either side of the arteries, the once stretchy passageway for blood flow becomes stiff and narrows. This increases blood pressure, as the heart has to work extra hard to get blood through the cholesterol-clogged circulatory system. The main contributor to high cholesterol levels is eating foods loaded with saturated fat. The problem is, many foods contain saturated fat, from meat and butter to cakes and biscuits.
The full list of foods high in saturated fat:

  • Milk and white chocolate, toffee, cakes, puddings and biscuits
  • Pastries and pies
  • Fatty meat, such as lamb chops
  • Processed meat, such as sausages, burgers, bacon and kebabs
  • Butter, lard, ghee, dripping, margarine, goose fat and suet
  • Coconut and palm oils and coconut cream
  • Full-fat dairy products such as cream, milk, yogurt, crème fraiche and cheese

The cholesterol charity Heart UK encouraged people to replace these foods with foods that contain more unsaturated fat.

This means swapping butter, margarine and coconut oil for olive, rapeseed and sunflower oil.

Instead of fatty cuts of meat or processed meat, opt for lean chicken or turkey.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Walking every day promotes longevity

Dried fruit and nuts are also a great alternative when it comes to having a handful of snacks.

As are dark chocolate, chewing gum, seeds, popcorn and baked savoury snacks.

Committing to healthy food choices can help you to avoid high cholesterol, and other conditions that could put you at increased risk of a heart attack.

For example, eating healthily means you’re more likely to maintain a healthy weight and will minimise your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Other lifestyle choices can also influence how much cholesterol there is in your body.

This includes drinking alcohol, smoking, and leading a sedentary lifestyle by sitting down too much.

Other health conditions can also have an effect on cholesterol levels, such as an under-active thyroid.

Untreated hypothyroidism, as it’s called, can increase the amount of cholesterol in the body.

The thyroid gland is in the neck; it produces the hormone thyroxine, which is needed to keep the body to work efficiently.

When not enough of this hormone is created, the body begins to run too slowly.

This can happen very gradually, so people may be unaware of the signs creeping up on them, which may include:

  • Tiredness
  • Lacking energy
  • Weight gain
  • Slow movements, thought and speech
  • Pins and needles
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Palpitations
  • Hair loss – especially outer third of eyebrows
  • Dry skin

Once an under-active thyroid is treated, cholesterol levels should return to normal.

Both cholesterol levels and thyroid levels can be determined by a simple blood test arranged by your GP.

Arthritis symptoms: Trout could trigger painful gout attacks – and other surprising foods

Cartilage is a type of tissue that covers the surface of a bone at a joint. Pain in this area could be due to gout – a type of inflammatory arthritis. What are the symptoms of this condition? The UK Gout Society explained: “Uric acid is the waste product created when the body breaks down purines – a type of protein found in many foods and all of your cells.” This suggests that some level of uric acid in the body is unavoidable, but it’s the excess of uric acid that leads to gout.
Excessive levels of uric acid in the blood can be attributed to numerous reasons.

For example, dietary choices have been linked to the formation of swollen, painful joints.

“Your diet plays an important role in both causing gout and reducing the likelihood of suffering further painful attacks of gout,” said the charity.

It’s advised that people with gout should avoid high purine foods, such as:


  • Liver, kidneys, heart and sweetbreads


  • Pheasant, rabbit, venison

Oily fish

  • Anchovies, herring, mackerel, sardines, sprats, whitebait, trout


  • Mussels, crab, shrimp, fish roe, caviar

Meat and yeast extracts

  • Marmite, Bovril, commercial gravy, beer

READ MORE: Arthritis symptoms – five ‘completely different’ signs

There are “moderate purine foods”, which can be enjoyed in moderation, such as:

  • Chicken, duck, beef, lamb, chicken, pork
  • Baked beans, kidney beans, soya beans and peas
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus, cauliflower, spinach
  • Bran, oat bran, wholemeal bread

Foods low in purine include:

  • Diary
  • Eggs
  • Pasta and noodles
  • Fruits
  • Most vegetables

“If you already suffer from gout, eating a diet that is rich in purines can

result in a five-fold increase in gout attacks,” said the charity.

How to minimise the risk of gout

The UK Gout Society reference studies that have shown a high vitamin C intake can reduce the likelihood of developing gout.

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Furthermore, sour cherries have been shown to reduce blood uric acid levels and can help to ease inflammation in the body.

Drinking alcohol can also increase a person’s risk of developing painful gout attacks.

Alcohol is converted into lactic acid, which interferes with the removal of uric acid from the body.

Gout is associated with many other health conditions, such as raised cholesterol, high blood pressure and poor glucose tolerance.

Approximately half of all gout sufferers are overweight, so maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of developing the condition.

It’s best to lose weight (if needs be) in a healthy manner, by losing no more than two pounds per week.

“Going without food for long periods of time and rapid loss of weight can increase uric avid levels,” warned the charity.

There are other possible reasons as to why there would be high uric acid levels in the body.

For example, the kidneys may be struggling to remove enough uric acid from the body.

Another reason could be due to a rare genetic abnormality that could lead to the condition developing.

Treatment for gout involves pain relief medication, such as non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Visceral fat: How to get rid of visceral fat – the four foods to avoid

Visceral fat isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Having a larger waist measurement and too much fat around your abdominal organs can put you at risk of heart and circulatory problems, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnoea, type 2 diabetes, and a number of deadly diseases, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. Express.co.uk chatted to Signe Svanfeldt, nutritionist at nutrition app Lifesum (www.lifesum.com), to find out how to get rid of visceral fat.
Visceral fat is abdominal fat that is located deep in your belly, surrounding your organs.

It isn’t to be confused with subcutaneous fat, which is just below the skin.

Signe said: “Visceral abdominal fat is often referred to as the ‘dangerous’ fat, as having a large proportion of it is a sign of metabolic syndrome and can lead to health risks such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

So how do you get rid of visceral fat? Here’s everything you need to know.

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How to get rid of visceral fat

Losing visceral fat is about more than eating healthier foods; you need to eat in a calorie deficit.

Signe said: “While we all wish it was as easy as eating a magic food, the reality is there are no single food items that, by themselves, will reduce visceral fat, or any fat for that matter.

“To lose visceral fat you need to reduce your total amount of body fat, and this is done by having an energy deficiency, meaning you need to burn more energy than you eat.

“This can be achieved by a healthy diet, regular physical activity and a limited intake of alcohol.”

Foods to avoid

Shedding your visceral fat isn’t about “a single good or bad food”, it’s about “the whole picture”.

You don’t need to start cutting out whole food groups, but there are four things that you should avoid as much as possible:

Saturated fats (found in food such as ice cream, pastries, full-fat dairy and meat)
Trans fats (found in doughnuts, baked goods and deep-fried food)
Sugar (found in sodas, pastries, sauces and sweets)
Salt (found in frozen meals, some meat, salted nuts and crisps, beans and more)

Signe explained: “Inactivity along with an energy-dense, nutrient-poor diet, filled with saturated fats, added sugars and sodium lead to weight gain, which can lead to an increased amount of visceral fat.”

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Excess visceral fat is often more common in men than women.

Signe explained: “The reason for getting visceral fat can vary, but is most often caused by an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity.

“However, it can also be genetic and can vary with age and sex. Even if women, in general, tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men, men tend to have more visceral fat than women, but women tend to increase their amount when ageing, as their levels of oestrogen drops.”

You can still keep an eye on what you eat and make healthier choices in order to reduce your visceral fat.

When wanting to get rid of visceral fat, a healthy, balanced diet will help you a long way.

Improving your diet isn’t just about cutting things out, it’s about adding things in. A balanced and healthy diet includes:

  • dietary fibre such as wholegrain bread, oats, vegetables and fruits
  • lean protein such as beans, lentils, fish, tofu, egg, poultry
  • healthy fats such as avocado, salmon, olive oil, nuts & seeds
  • adequate water intake
While diet is the most important thing when trying to get rid of visceral fat, exercise will also help.

Signe said: “Make sure to include daily physical activity, both cardio and strength training.

“It’s recommended that you do at least 150-300 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity weekly, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous aerobic physical activity.

“Additionally, make sure to include strength training at least twice a week.

“You don’t need to go to the gym; your own body weight will be enough!”

Remember, some physical activity is better than none. Easy tips on incorporating some physical activity in your daily life are:

  • Take the stairs instead of the lift
  • Jump off the bus a few stops before your stop, and walk the last part
  • Take lunch walks
  • Instead of meeting up for a coffee, meet up for a walk
  • Set an alarm every hour and do 20 squats or 10 push-ups