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RedFeb: Food for the Heart

This month is “Red Feb”, a whole month dedicated to raising awareness for heart health and increasing research within the area.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is an umbrella term regrouping heart, stroke and vascular diseases, affects over 1.6 million of Australians. Risk of developing CVD increases with age, and is also linked to our gender (men are at slightly higher risk), ethnicity and family history. 


Luckily, the risk of developing CVD is also influenced by things within our control (ie. modifiable risk factors). This includes exercises, reducing sedentary behaviour, avoiding alcohol and smoking. Eating a “heart-healthy” diet is also really important in reducing our risk of CVD. 

RedFeb Heart Healthy Foods

So let’s take a look - What is in a heart healthy diet?


Plenty of vegetables, fruit, herbs & spices

  • Aim for 5 serves of veg and 2 serves of fruit a day. 

  • Try to eat in season, and eat a wide variety of vegetables (eat the rainbow !)  

  • Flavour meals with herbs and spices rather than salt. 

Whole grains and pulses 

  • Brown rice, wholemeal pasta, grainy bread & oats are rich in fibre and can help lower your cholesterol. 

Healthy fats 

  • Eat fatty fish 3x per week (tuna, sardines, salmon, mackerel, trevally, bonito, herring, mullet and trout). These contain DHA and EPA omega 3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Also include other sources of “healthy fats” in your diet, such as nuts, seeds, olives & avocado. 

  • Choose extra virgin olive oil over tropical oils (eg. Palm, coconut) and refined oils. 

Red Feb Heart Healthy Foods

Lean protein 

  • Opt for lean cuts of meat and poultry, and choose to grill or bake them over frying them. 

  • Include more plant-based sources of protein, such as pulses (lentils, kidney beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas…) and soy based products (edamame, tofu). 

Less of… 

  • Reduce your intake of highly processed foods (eg. Pastries, cakes, biscuits, crackers) 

  • Avoid deli and processed meats (eg. Sausages, burgers, salami, ham, bacon) 

  • Reduce your salt intake - cook with herbs, spices and lemon rather than adding salt. Be mindful of hidden sources of salt, such as can soup, cheese, pizza and certain breakfast cereals.  




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