How to improve your heart health through weight loss and nutrition

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Zoé Griffiths

Cardiovascular diseases (sometimes known as heart diseases) have become increasingly common in our society as lifestyle patterns evolve and obesity rates go up, but there’s a lot we can do to protect our heart health. This article will shed light on how weight and nutrition can affect your chances of getting heart problems, and more importantly, how we can improve heart health through weight loss (if you are overweight) and our nutritional choices.

We’ll dive into the following points:

  1. What is cardiovascular disease?
  2. Who does it affect?
  3. Can heart problems be prevented?
  4. How being overweight can affect your heart
  5. Can losing weight reduce the chances of heart problems?
  6. How the Allurion Programme can bring about effective and sustainable weight loss
  7. What’s the link between heart disease and nutrition?
  8. How to reduce cardiovascular risk through nutrition
  9. How exercise can improve heart health
  10. How can heart health be maintained?

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases are the No.1 cause of death worldwide – they are estimated to kill around 18 million people each year and contribute to a third of all deaths globally.1

The good news is that 80% of cardiovascular events can be prevented, says Neil Johnson, Executive Director of the Global Heart Hub.2

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is sometimes used interchangeably with heart disease to describe health issues linked to the heart itself, as well as to associated blood vessels. It includes:3

  • coronary heart disease: A condition where the arteries of the heart are narrowed by atherosclerosis a build-up of fatty plaque on the artery walls. A stroke or heart attack can occur if a blood clot develops and gets stuck in the narrowed arteries, blocking blood flow altogether (see below).4,5  
  • stroke: The most common ones are ischemic strokes (often caused by blood clots blocking a blood vessel to the brain) and hemorrhagic strokes (caused by high blood pressure bursting a blood vessel in your brain).5
  • heart attack: Occurs when the flow of blood to and from your heart gets cut off or restricted (see coronary heart disease)
  • heart failure: When your heart isn’t pumping blood (and oxygen) around your body well enough to keep you healthy. Despite the name, it doesn’t mean your heart stops beating, but that it’s not working at its best.5

Other conditions include aortic disease which affects the aorta, the body’s largest blood vessel carrying blood to and from the heart,6 peripheral arterial disease which occurs when the arteries linking your heart to your legs get blocked,6 heart valve problems and problems with the rhythm of the heart which can upset blood flow and how your body functions.

Who does it affect?

There are lots of “risk factors” associated with heart problems. In particular, cardiovascular diseases can affect people who:6

  • are living with overweight or obesity – with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 or more
  • have type 2 diabetes
  • have an unhealthy diet
  • have high blood pressure
  • have high cholesterol
  • are not active enough
  • smoke
  • drink excess amounts of alcohol
  • have a history of cardiovascular disease in their family

Can heart problems be prevented?

YES! Many cardiovascular problems can be prevented. Making changes to your daily habits – such as eating a healthier diet, achieving and maintaining a healthier weight, and staying physically active may help to minimize your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Not smoking and cutting back on excess alcohol can also help.3

How being overweight can affect your heart

Being at an unhealthy weight can increase your chances of heart-related problems.6

The World Health Organization’s definition of being overweight is having a BMI of 25 or more. Obesity is defined as having a BMI of 30 or more.7

Calculate your BMI here 

People living with obesity tend to experience cardiovascular disease at a younger age than people at a healthier weight, while survivors of heart problems often need to live with and manage cardiovascular concerns for the rest of their lives. What’s more, in general people who are living with obesity have shorter lifespans than people who maintain a healthier weight.5

Can losing weight reduce the chances of heart problems?

Yes, but you also need to try and stay at a healthier weight once you’ve lost those extra kilos. Lifestyle modification that leads to weight loss and healthier habits over the long term can help improve cardiovascular function and reduce the risk of heart problems.7

Walking as exercising


Studies show that short-term weight loss may not be enough to offset the risks associated with cardiovascular disease.

It’s better to lose weight – and to keep it off – than for your weight to constantly ‘yo-yo’ and require ongoing dieting or weight-loss efforts.7

Studies also show that modest weight loss of between 5-10% in people living with obesity can help reduce the risk of heart-problems. However, losing more weight – and then being able to sustain that healthier weight – can have additional benefits in terms of managing type 2 diabetes and other obesity-related complications.15

Therefore, to maximize heart health if you’re at an unhealthy weight, you should look to take a step-by-step approach:7

  1. prevent further weight gain
  2. reduce your weight
  3. maintain your healthier weight

How the Allurion Programme can bring about effective and sustainable weight loss

If you are living with overweight or obesity and want to improve your heart health, the Allurion Programme has been scientifically proven to help individuals lose an average of 10-15% of their total body weight.6

This difference in weight can help tip the scales towards better heart and vascular health.

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The programme combines the use of a temporary gastric balloon, the Allurion Balloon, together with 6 months of nutritional coaching and medical support to kickstart weight loss and bring about lasting results through behavioral change and improved nutritional habits. In fact, research shows that on average, 95% of the weight lost on the Programme is successfully sustained one year after the balloon exits the body.7

You'll also receive the Allurion connected scale, health tracker and mobile app to connect you with your doctor and healthcare team, track your progress, receive ongoing support, and stay motivated.

Ali exercising as part of the Allurion programme

How does the Allurion Balloon help to kickstart weight loss?

The Allurion Balloon helps you reduce food intake by taking up space in your stomach, creating a feeling of fullness. It is placed during a brief 15-minute outpatient procedure and passes naturally out of the body after around 16 weeks.

As the balloon works to give you a feeling of satiety, you’ll receive ongoing support and guidance from your doctor and nutritionist to adopt healthier nutrition and exercise habits as part of a holistic approach to losing weight.

Making the best nutritional choices for you helps ensure your body gets the nutrients you need even as you start losing weight, and as you’ll see below, there is a definite link between heart disease and nutrition.

What’s the link between heart disease and nutrition?

Many people who eat an unhealthy diet are at a higher risk than people who eat a healthier diet for conditions like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. These are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Many people with these conditions are also living with overweight or obesity – another risk factor.6

Following a healthy, balanced diet can not only help to keep your heart healthy, but it can also aid general body, muscle and bone health, and support a healthy immune system. It can also help you to avoid – or better manage – a range of other medical conditions, including some cancers.8,11

Bowl of Salad

In particular, there’s evidence to suggest that following a Mediterranean-style diet can help to reduce heart problems if you’re in a high-risk group. That means basing your diet on fruits, vegetables, grains, as well as beans, potatoes, seeds and nuts, and favouring olive oil over other fats (olive oil contains the ‘healthy’ type of fat). Dairy, fish, eggs and poultry are preferred over red meat.7,12

How to reduce cardiovascular risk through nutrition

  • Eat less salt: Eating too much salt is linked to high blood pressure, which can lead to coronary heart disease. Aim to eat no more than 6g of salt a day (that’s about a teaspoon full, which is the daily maximum recommendation for adults). To do this, avoid adding extra salt to your food. Also check the ingredients on the food you buy – often, salt that’s added to foods like breakfast cereals, ready meals, biscuits and even bread can increase your salt intake without you even realising it.15
Girl Checking for healthy meal


  • Reduce your sugar intake: Sugar in foods like cakes, biscuits, soft drinks and ice-cream can lead to weight gain and a higher risk of heart disease. 15
  • Know your fats: There are different types of fats.15
    • Trans fats are linked to an increased risk of heart disease. They are often found in processed and takeaway foods and should be avoided or reduced if possible.
    • Saturated fats are mostly found in animal products. They’re linked to increased levels of cholesterol. You can reduce your intake by cutting back on processed foods and instead eating more fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as starchy foods. Another good tip is to try replacing saturated fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are found in healthy oils like olive sunflower and rapeseed oils, as well as in avocados., nuts and seeds.
  • Eat 5 or more portions a day of fruit and vegetables – fresh, tinned, frozen or dried: These contain vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants to help maintain heart health.15
  • Review your fiber intake: The fiber found in whole grains, cereals, fruits, vegetables, and pulses can help reduce heart disease risk, as well as help you to lose weight. Simple changes can include choosing wholemeal and seeded breads instead of white bread and opting for brown rice. Look for foods high in soluble fiber as it can help reduce cholesterol levels. Favor baked beans, soya beans and kidney beans, as well as oats, lentils, and peas.15
  • Eat fish: Try and have two portions of fish a week, including one oily fish. White fish is high in lean protein, while oily fish contains omega 3, a polyunsaturated fat that is good for heart health.15
  • Eat plant sterols and stanols contained in foods such some fortified milks and yogurts. Sterols and stanols help reduce cholesterol levels.15

Did you know? The Allurion Programme includes 6 months of individual nutritional coaching that helps you rebuild a healthy, sustainable diet that encompasses all your nutrient needs while supporting your weight loss goals.

How exercise can improve heart health

We’ve looked at food choices but that’s not all, incorporating regular exercise is beneficial for your heart health too! It’s proven to help reduce heart-related mortality, as well reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in general.13

Regular moderate exercise can help manage a range of risk factors associated with heart problems, including high blood pressure. It can also help to increase cardiac function generally.13

The exact amount of exercise optimal to reduce cardiovascular disease risk is still unknown. However, moderation is the key.13 Some studies have shown it’s possible to overdo it. However – continuously high levels of exercise (such as marathon running), for example, may adversely affect your heart health.13

With the Allurion Programme, you’ll be provided with several digital tools to help you start and maintain a fitness routine plus track and share your progress with your care team:

  • The Allurion Health Tracker plays a vital role in monitoring activity levels – a key factor in reducing cardiovascular risk.
  • The Allurion Connected Scale plays a vital role in monitoring weight loss and body composition changes, which is a key factor in reducing cardiovascular risk.
  • The Allurion app gathers and tracks all of this data, sharing it with your medical and care team, so you get timely advice and help whenever you need it.

How can heart health be maintained?

To maintain heart health:1

·       review your diet to ensure you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced pattern of eating.

·       work on achieving and maintaining a healthier weight.

·       stay physically active

·       don’t smoke.

·       don't drink alcohol in excess.

Book your free consultation for the Allurion Programme today!

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  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Cardiovascular diseases - Data and statistics. [Last accessed October 2021].
  3. Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  4. What is a Heart Attack?. Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  5. What is Cardiovascular Disease?. Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  6. Cardiovascular disease. Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  7. Powell-Wiley TM, Poirier P, Burke LE, et al. Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2021;143(21):e984-e1010. doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000973
  8. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight. Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  9. Ienca et al. Obes Surg. 2020, Apr. 30, pgs 3354–3362
  10. Vantanasiri et al. Obes Surg 2020, Apr. 30, pgs 3341–3346
  11. Benefits of Healthy Eating for Adults. Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  12. What is the Mediterranean Diet?. Published 2022. Accessed August 3, 2022.
  13. Nystoriak MA, Bhatnagar A. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise. Front Cardiovasc Med. 2018;5:135. Published 2018 Sep 28. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2018.00135
  14. Tahrani AA, Morton J. Benefits of weight loss of 10% or more in patients with overweight or obesity: A review. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2022;30(4):802-840. doi:10.1002/oby.23371
  15. Heart Health. Published 2022. Accessed August 31, 2022.


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Zoé Griffiths
Global Director of Nutrition at Allurion Technologies Inc.