Healthy Diet

When you eat well and stay active, stick to a good weight and cut down on alcohol and smoking, you won’t only feel better and have more life and energy… you’ll also be doing your heart a big favour too.

A healthy balanced diet includes the following…

A healthy balanced diet includes the following…
  • Starchy foods like these should make up about a third of the diet
  • Wholegrain varieties are preferred as these contain more fibre which is good for bowel health and can help us feel full
Fruit and vegetables
  • Eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables everyday
  • Include a portion of vegetables or salad with every meal
  • Eat a wide variety of fruit and vegetables

Examples of portions are one whole fruit (e.g. an apple or banana), two or three small fruits (e.g. satsumas or apricots), two large tablespoons of vegetables, one dessert sized bowl of green salad or a small glass of fruit juice

Milk and dairy foods
  • Choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk
  • Choose low fat cheeses and low fat yoghurts/fromage frais
Meat, fish and alternatives
  • Eat at least 2 portions of fish every week, including one portion of oily fish e.g. salmon or sardines, (up to two portions of oily fish a week for women of child bearing age and up to four portions of oily fish a week for older women and men)
  • Choose lean cuts of meat and remove any excess fat
  • Remove the skin when cooking chicken or turkey
  • Cook without adding any oil or extra fat, as many of these foods already contain fat

Use beans and pulses as an alternative to meat as they are naturally low in fat

Fats and sugars
  • Food and drinks which are high in fat, (particularly saturated fat) or sugar should be kept to a minimum; these include many unhealthy snacks such as cakes and biscuits as well as fried food
  • Replace butter or margarine with a reduced fat spread but still use it sparingly
  • Use low fat salad dressing instead of mayonnaise and salad cream
  • Try poaching, steaming, grilling or baking food instead of frying
  • Use artificial sweeteners in tea and coffee rather than sugar
  • Use less sugar when cooking or buy readymade low sugar desserts
  • Substitute sugar coated cereals with high fibre and wholegrain ones
  • Buy fruit tinned in natural juice rather than syrup
  • Snack on fresh or dried fruit rather than biscuits and chocolate

Speak to your pharmacist first if you already take any medicines or supplements. Always read the label. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy should consult their doctor before taking a supplement.

Everyday Good Health


Exercise and healthy eating can help maintain a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight will reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure. Doing regular exercise will also reduce cholesterol and keep blood pressure at a healthy level.

The current general recommendation is that adults should all be doing a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Moderate exercise is defined as activity that makes you feel warm and slightly out of breath; for example a brisk walk. These minutes do not need to be done in one go but should be in a minimum of 10 minute blocks.

One way to achieve the required moderate exercise is to do five, 30 minute sessions every week. In addition muscle strengthening activities should be undertaken at least twice a week such as exercising with weights or carrying and moving heavy loads. Older adults at risk of falls should also incorporate into their physical activity activities to help with balance and co-ordination such as yoga and tai-chi a minimum of twice a week.

If you are not used to exercise it is important to start slowly and gradually increase your activity levels. If you have any medical conditions or are over 65 years then you should speak to your GP before starting a new exercise regimen as not all activities may be appropriate.

This does not necessarily mean that you cannot become more active. Swimming is an example of a low impact exercise which may benefit someone with arthritis.

You should always check if an activity is suitable for you.