The foods designed to keep us ticking over
With cardiovascular health high on the agenda both in Europe and around the world, the food industry has continued to be thorough in its response, innovating across a wide range of product categories to reduce risk of high blood pressure through salt (sodium) reduction, as well as helping to prevent other cardiovascular illnesses through products low in fat and which actively help to lower cholesterol.
Deemed by many to be one of the most important meals of the day, breakfast provides a great opening for heart health foods. Oatibix a variation on Weetabix, made from 100% wholegrain natural oats that contribute to maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. One serving of Oatibix provides 1.75g of beta glucan soluble fibre from wholegrain oats, which is about half of 3g – the suggested daily intake. Endorsed by British charity Heart UK, Optivita by Kellogg’s is a cereal specifically developed to help manage your cholesterol. Varieties include wholegrain flakes of oat, wheat and rice with either raisins or with freeze dried strawberries, blueberries fruits and sweetened blackcurrants. Rude Health Puffed Oats are made purely from puffed grains. Due to its production methods the oaty remain light whilst the fibre is kept intact: soluble, insoluble, and cholesterol-lowering. Having been milling oats at the family mill in Ireland for over 200 years, Flavans Coarse Cut Oatmeal offers a more traditional heart friendly start to the day with a hearty texture, rich in fibre and providing 1g of oat beta glucan per serving.
Oil & Spread
One of the biggest sources of artery clogging saturated fat is from butter and oil so alternatives and innovations are most welcome in terms of heart health. With half the saturated fat of olive oil and bursting with essential fatty acids, Fussels Rapeseed Oil has shown to reduce cholesterol, maintain heart health, joint mobility and brain function. It is also naturally rich in Vitamin E and Omegas even retains its health benefits at high temperatures. Flora Cuisine is a cooking liquid made from a blend of linseed, rapeseed and sunflower oils. It has a mild taste and boasts 45% less saturated fat than olive oil as well as high levels of omega 3. Kerrygold Lighter Spreadable uses a blend of butter and olive to achieve a 25% less fat than full fat butter. Clover Seedburst is a seeded spread that encorperated a blend of seven seeds and whole grains (Sesame, Barley, Linseeds, Oats, Wheat, Rye and Millet). These provide a natural source of vitamin E and Omega-3 with 70 per cent less saturated fat than butter.
Since it’s introduction to the mainstream in the mid-late 1960s through brands such as Ski and Yakult, yogurt has been a runaway success story. And it’s popularity shows no sign of stopping with further growth over recent years attributed to breakfast habits, and demand for low fat sources of protein and calcium. Yoghurt has also become the perfect format for heart health innovaton. Benecol and Flora are two of the biggest brands in heart health market. Their yogurt drinks use plant stanols found in corn and rye as well as other plants and vegetables to actively lower cholesterol by blocking it’s absorption into the bloodstream via the gut.