Sticking to national dietary guidelines could reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by a third, according to a study.
Research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that healthy men and women aged 40 and over who adapt their daily diet to meet current UK dietary guidelines reduce their risk of CVD by up to a third.
Participants were asked to adapt a modified diet for 12 weeks that included eating oily fish once a week, more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain cereals, low-fat meat and dairy products, and restricted their intake of added sugar and salt.
Those on the modified diet were also asked to replace cakes and cookies with fruit and nuts and were also supplied with cooking oils and spreads high in monounsaturated fat.
Public Health England recommends a balanced diet that is low in saturated fat, salt and sugar and includes oily fish and five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as part of a healthy lifestyle that includes keeping active and not smoking.
Tracy Parker, Heart Health Dietitian at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This study reinforces the advice that making small changes to improve your diet can have a big impact on reducing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
“Those people who stuck to the dietary guidelines and ate more fruit, vegetables and oily fish, while reducing saturated fat, salt and sugar intake, significantly reduced their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“It’s never too late to make healthy changes to your lifestyle and improve your diet.”