Next up in this mini series of Cycling, food and me is all about keeping my ticker in good shape. This is quite a handy thing to do as statistically I have a 5% chance of having a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years – while this is low this is where I need to keep it. Apparently “middle” age men are prone to this risk shooting up for all kinds of reasons.
So, here are the main points of my nutritionist’s suggestions for good heart health:
- Omega 3 is important and I should be taking in 2 or 3 significant portions a week. Sources for me include tinned mackerel or salmon (not too keen on these!), plus a tablespoon of ground flaxseed every day. The important thing about fish oils are that they are anti-inflammatory.
- Generally low salt and low saturated fats (i.e. avoiding too much cheese)
- Add some potassium if reducing sodium intake (not too sure about this) and LoSalt is apparently useful here
- Really great foods include almonds, hazelnuts, lentils, bananas and spinach
- Calcium rich foods include milk and yoghurt
- Vitamin D will help reduce blood pressure if necessary
- Magnesium is useful and contained in sweetcorn, raisins and organic carrots
- Continuing to avoid MSG (that’s Mono Sodium Glutamate, nasty stuff in ready meals)
- Continue avoiding Sodium Benzoate
Naturally diet is only one element of maintaining good heart health; exercise is vital and you’ll already know that if you’re a cyclist. I am really liking the idea of fine tuning my diet even more to make sure foods are good for me but without becoming obsessive or neurotic about it either.
Nevertheless it seems I can effectively do quite a bit myself in maintaining good heart health, which is great. Even nicer it is through eating food (but not too much).