Staying healthy

Eating a healthy diet, not smoking and being physically active are important in helping to keep your cholesterol and other blood fats low.

What’s your heart age?

Heart Age is a sign of how healthy your heart is. This clever calculator works it out from a few simple questions.

 
Helpline Module

Lines open Mon-Fri 10am-3pm
Punjabi, Urdu & Hindi spoken on Tuesdays

ask@heartuk.org.uk

Calls to our 0345 helpline costs no more than calls to geographic (01 and 02) numbers and must be included in inclusive minutes on mobile phones and discount schemes. Calls from landlines are typically charged between 2p and 10p per minute while calls from mobiles typically cost between 10p and 40p per minute. Calls from landlines and mobiles to 0345 numbers are included in free call packages. 

2015 - UCLP© foundation diet
UCLP© essentials

Explore the 5 food groups and discover how to incorporate these into your UCLP foundation diet.

 
Low fat resources
Helpful Resources

Check out these books and "apps" designed to help you keep track of your fat intake  

Carbs and Cals 
Calorie and Carb Bible 
Weight Loss Resources

Find more healthy recipes at  
Change4life

UCLP© healthy fats factsheet
UCLP© healthy fats factsheet

The UCLP© is not a low fat diet. It means replacing saturated fats with heart healthy unsaturated fats.

 

Mediterranean Diet

People living in countries bordering the Mediterranean and who eat the traditional diet of this region appear to have less heart disease than those of us that live in the UK and northern Europe.

Health professionals now advise the traditional Mediterranean way of eating as a good approach to helping improve health and longevity.

What foods make up the Mediterranean diet?

Traditionally people in the Mediterranean eat:
  • more fruit and vegetables, wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, pulses (peas, beans and lentils) seeds and fish - these food are sometimes called Super Foods
  • less saturated fat from dairy and red meat sources
  • moderate alcohol consumption
  • are exposed to higher levels of sunshine and eat more oily fish resulting in healthy levels of vitamin D

How does this affect nutrient intakes?

The Mediterranean diet is:
  • Not a low fat diet, but much less of the fat comes from saturated sources like butter, fatty meats, pastry or dairy fat 
  • rich in monounsaturated fats which are heart healthy (olive oil and nuts)
  • a good source of omega 3 fatty acids (seafood, especially oily fish)
  • rich in potassium (wholegrain cereals, fruit, vegetables and nuts)
  • rich in fibre including soluble fibre (wholegrain cereals, vegetables, fruit, beans, peas)
  • rich in antioxidants including vitamins E and C, carotenoids and flavonoids
  • rich in B vitamins including folic acid

Tips to help you adopt a Mediterranean lifestyle

Eat plenty:
  • Fruit and vegetables – fresh, frozen, canned or dried. Aim for at least 5 servings every day, more if you can and include a wide variety. These foods are rich in essential nutrients, they are also low in calories
  • Starchy carbohydrate foods – base meals on foods such as bread, noodles, chapatti, rice, pasta and yams. Wholegrain varieties are generally higher in fibre, so good for digestive health too
  • Fish. White fish is low in fat and calories, so helpful when managing weight, and oily fish, although higher in fat, contains essential omega-3 fats and vitamin D.
  • Nuts and nut butters – unsalted varieties. Nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats. As a guide try to eat about 30-35g (a handful) each day
  • Use oils rich in monounsaturated fats, such as olive and rapeseed (canola) oils, and spreading fats made from these.
  • Try to get out in the sunshine for at least 30 minutes during the spring, summer and early autumn.  Its best to apply sun tan lotion if you expose your skin to strong sunlight for longer or if you are very fair skinned
  • If over 65, housebound or if you have little exposure to sun then it is recommended that you supplement with vitamin D. 5mcg per day is the Reference Intake for vitamin D.

Food Swaps

Less heart-unhealthy foods More heart-healthy foods
less lard more olive, rapeseed and sunflower oils
less butter, margarine

more olive and sunflower oil spreads

less white bread, pasta, rice

more wholegrain bread, brown pasta, brown rice

fewer processed breakfast cereals like cornflakes, krispies, "sugar coated" or "chocolate" cereals

more porridge, oat-based  cereals, wheat biscuits, muesli

less sweet biscuits, cakes

more oatcakes, digestives

less milk or white chocolate, crisps

more unsalted nuts, dried and fresh fruit

less pastry

more lentils, beans and peas

fewer takeaways

more meals made from basic fresh ingredients

less sausages, burgers, fatty meat

more lean meat, seafood including oily fish

less high-fat cheese, cream and milk

more reduced-fat dairy foods, soya products

If you need help to lower your cholesterol level why not check out our Ultimate Cholesterol Lowering Plan©