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Eat your way to a healthy heart in 6 easy steps

Rachel Graham, Nutritional Therapist & Medicinal Chef, talks us through how a healthy diet can help maintain a healthy heart

Taking care of our heart health should be a top priority, and one of the best ways to do this is by watching what we eat. A healthy diet can help us maintain healthy cholesterol levels, stable blood glucose and normal blood pressure, all of which are critical for a healthy heart.

Eat Your Way To A Healthy heart with flaxseed

Your Heart-Friendly Diet

Taking care of our heart health should be a top priority, and one of the best ways to do this is by watching what we eat. A healthy diet can help us maintain healthy cholesterol levels, stable blood glucose and normal blood pressure, all of which are critical for a healthy heart.

The key to preventing heart disease is to consume all the healthy heart-friendly ingredients your cardiovascular system relies on to stay healthy & to avoid those that cause it problems.
Sounds obvious right?
…but when you really emphasise nutrient-dense foods every day, the damaging ones get crowded out, enabling you to really support a healthy heart

This is one of my key nutrition principles also – it’s not what you take out of your diet but more about the beneficial foods you add into your diet.

Here are some basic heart-friendly principles:

  1. Choose whole, unprocessed foods as the mainstay of your diet, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and seeds.
  2. Limit your intake of processed foods that are high in salt, added sugars, saturated fats and/or trans fats (usually listed as hydrogenated fats)
  3. Incorporate heart-healthy fats into your diet such as omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and flaxseeds (see healthy fats below)
  4. Use herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavour to your meals – they bring a wealth of additional nutritional benefits to your plate.
  5. Avoid fizzy drinks and sports drinks – opt instead for water, and herbal tea.
  6. Make sustainable changes to your diet that can be maintained long-term, rather than quick-fix fad diets. This is a far more effective strategy to protect your heart health.

The Importance Of Hearty Healthy Fats!

Omega-3 essential fats are heart-healthy fats. Omega 3 essential fats are known as essential fats because we must get these from dietary sources. We cannot synthesise these ourselves.

Omega 3 essential fats can lower cholesterol levels, lower harmful triglycerides in the bloodstream and lower inflammation which is often associated with heart disease.
Oily fish are a rich source of omega-3 essential fats (salmon, mackerel, kippers, sardines, herrings) However, omega-3 essential fats are also available from plant-based sources i.e., milled flaxseed & chia seeds.

Milled Flaxseed is particularly helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol and is rich in alpha-linolenic acid – a type of omega-3 fatty acid -that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels (known as the bad cholesterol).

Milled Flaxseed For Heart Health

Studies have found that adding milled flaxseed to our diet can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by up to 20%. Milled flaxseed is easy to incorporate into our diet and can be added in a variety of ways from smoothies to porridge, yoghurt, and in baked goods.
The following study (Edralin A.2002) demonstrates the effectiveness of flaxseed in improving blood lipid profiles in postmenopausal women.

The Importance of The Right Diet!

The most effective nutritional approach to reduce cholesterol is to include plenty of fibre, complex carbs (wholewheat variety), essential fats i.e., omega 3s, and key vitamins & minerals.
I recommend the liberal use of garlic, ginger & turmeric – which are some of nature’s most potent anti-inflammatory foods.
In addition try reducing & minimising meat & cheese consumption, in favour of more plant-based options as often as possible, which contain low/no saturated fat by comparison (amongst other benefits)…

Flaxseed and maintaining heart health

High Fibre

A diet high in fibre and low in added sugars can help maintain balanced blood sugars.

Flaxseed is a great addition to a diet that aims to maintain balanced blood sugars. The soluble fibre in flaxseed helps slow down the absorption of sugar into our bloodstream, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes. Additionally, flaxseed also has a low glycaemic index (GI), which means it doesn’t cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. Both factors over time contribute towards a healthy heart & vascular system, which reduces every known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Flaxseed can also be beneficial for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. A study (Caligiuri.S, 2014) found that consuming flaxseed daily for six months led to a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels. The researchers believe that this may be due to the high levels of alpha-linolenic acid and lignans found in flaxseed, both of which have been shown to have a positive effect on blood pressure which is essential for a healthy heart

Variety is the spice…

Lastly, versatility is an essential factor to consider when choosing foods for a healthy heart. It is essential to have a varied diet that includes different types of fibre and nutrients to ensure we are getting all the nutrients & co-factor nutrients our body needs, to function optimally. This strategy is also very supportive of our gut microbiome, which can play an important role in our overall health & well-being.

To conclude, Linwoods milled flaxseed is incredibly versatile and can be added to a wide variety of dishes, making it an easy way to add heart-healthy nutrients to our diet:

  1. We can add milled flaxseed to our smoothies or yoghurt in the morning for a quick and easy breakfast.
  2. We can also add it to our porridge or even pancakes for a healthy and delicious snack.
  3. We can use milled flaxseed as a replacement for some of the flour in our baking recipes to further enhance nutrient density.

Why not try some of Linwoods recipes here



(Edralin A; 2002)
Flaxseed Improves Lipid Profile without Altering Biomarkers of Bone Metabolism in Postmenopausal Women

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 87, Issue 4, 1 April 2002, Pages 1527–1532,

(Caligiuri.S, 2014)
Flaxseed Consumption Reduces Blood Pressure in Patients With Hypertension by Altering Circulating Oxylipins via an α-Linolenic Acid–Induced Inhibition of Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase

Stephanie P.B. Caligiuri, Harold M. Aukema, Amir Ravandi, Randy Guzman, Elena Dibrov and Grant N. Pierce

Originally published 28 Apr 2014 Hypertension. 2014;64:53–59

Hi! I’m Rachel, here’s a little bit about me and how I can help you!

Rachel Graham Nutrition

I’m a Nutritional Therapist & Medicinal Chef with over 25 years of Food & Nutrition experience.

I work predominantly in Women’s Health with an emphasis on Menopause. This naturally incorporates gut health, heart health & hormone health.

I am an accredited Menopause educator from The British Menopause Charity. I am qualified to advise women of the various treatment options available to manage the symptoms of menopause, including:

  • HRT 
  • Alternatives to HRT(supplements, lifestyle & alternative therapies)
  • Nutrition for Menopause – my new cookbook will be published in November 2022 with pre-orders open from September!

I run an online clinic with 1:1 consultations + group coaching specifically for Menopause

I also offer Meal Prep classes to give you the practical skills to improve your diet.
If you need help & would like to get in touch, just click here to book in for a quick chat


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