Having such a professional outfit as Brightside PT as our partner in this challenge is priceless, they have over 40 years of experience in all aspects of health, lifestyle and fitness, working with all standards of fitness. Find them through our Facebook page for the best tips on increasing your activity.

Now we want you to introduce more fruit and vegetables into your diet, for some that may not change a lot and for others it may be the start. Little by little, adding fruit and vegetables to your breakfast, mid-morning or afternoon snack, colour your plate for dinner… easy achievable changes. 

Can I start by telling you what drives me potty? how people view Avocados’!  Yep I get all emotional over how people tell me how bad these are for me!!!!! and I heard of a slimming club that recommends for a treat to eat something like a Kitkat, but avoid Avocado’s????   

I have yet to meet someone who is overweight and says “yep it’s the Avocado’s that’s done it”  - They are quite high in calories, but as I said before if you are counting calories take this into consideration but these should still be your first healthyheart choice. 

So here are my top 5 Fruits and Vegetables to get into your diet. 

Avocado (Fruit) 

The Avocado, which is a fruit, is highly nutritious contain a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. It is loaded with HeartHealthy Monounsaturated Fatty Acids which can help reduce total cholesterol levels significantly. It can also help in lowering LDL cholesterol and increase HDL (the "good") cholesterol. 

The fibre content is also a benefit, to assist weight loss and of course……keeping us regular! 

People who eat Avocado’s on a regular basis tend to be healthier and much better looking…. ok I lied about the better looking bit, but the healthier bit is true 😊 

Berries (Fruit) 

All berries have a long list of health benefits. They are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which help fight heart disease. My favorite is blueberries, they are versatile and tasty. Some studies show that eating blueberries could help reduce some of the risk factors for heart disease including the lowering of blood pressure and helps reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol.   Guess what? They will help keep you regular!! 

Asparagus (Vegetable) 

When I was young I hated Asparagus, school always did Asparagus soup, we called it ‘stinky pee’ soup, I suppose my school was trying to lead the way in heart health the fact being I grew up in Scotland and we’re not renowned for looking after our heart!  Anyway, I love it now, eat it regularly and it has some amazing benefits. It has a large amount of soluble fiber per cup, which has shown to lower the risk of heart disease, it also contains the amino acid asparagine which helps flush your body of excess salt. It has excellent anti-inflammatory effects and high levels of antioxidants, both of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Other benefits for your skin, kidneys and of course your digestion. Anyway, eat lots and you’ll see why when I was a kid we called it ‘stinky pee’ soup 😊 

Broccoli (Vegetable) 

Possibly the best vegetable out there with a huge amount of studies around this vegetable for an array of benefits across your health. It is reportedly great for heart health as it contains fibers, fatty acids and vitamins that help regulating blood pressure in the body. This also helps in reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol and protecting blood vessels from damage. 

Beetroot (Vegetable, but I think it’s a Fruit) 

Love beetroot, I love fresh beetroot and preparing it, to add in my cooking or salad dishes. Turns your pee pink and your poo red! sorry but that’s a fact, apart from that its awesome 😊 

Beetroots and beetroot juice have been shown to lower blood pressure due to its naturally occurring nitrate content. Nitrate-rich beetroot drink has been shown to lower blood pressure for a few hours after drinking, due to its effect relaxing artery walls. By getting this wonderful vegetable into your diet, you will reap benefits for your heart health. Athletes take nitrate-rich beetroot drinks to help improve blood flow to muscles during exercise, it also helps relieve post-exercise muscle pains.  

Almost every fruit and vegetable will bring you a multitude of benefits, the ones I have chosen are in my opinion the best, all easily found in food stores, all can be eaten cooked or raw in different dishes, so no excuses for not putting them on your shopping list. 

It is important to state, these are tips on what to incorporate into your diets that will benefit you heart health, but these will also have to be part of a much bigger change across your lifestyle. Eating better is one change, cutting out the bad stuff will be another, portion control and adding some exercise into our day yet another. 

Make sure you keep checking our Healthy Heart Facebook page for more first-class diet and fitness advice. 

Don’t forget this week is all about drinking water, some of the feedback has been great, with one challenger managing 10,000 steps because of his toilet visits 😊