Heart attacks happen when the blood supply to the heart is suddenly interrupted.
This occurs when the supply of blood is blocked, most often by a blood clot.
The leading cause of heart attacks is coronary heart disease - a condition in which the coronary arteries get clogged up with deposits of cholesterol.
Before a heart attack, one of these deposits, known as plaques, bursts, causing a blood clot to develop.
The risk of developing coronary heart disease is increased by things such as smoking, eating a high-fat diet, being overweight, having high blood pressure or having high cholesterol.
In order to minimise the risk of having a heart attack, it is therefore important to monitor things like blood pressure and cholesterol, and follow a healthy diet.
This is because nuts are rich in vegetable protein, fibre, unsaturated fats, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, natural plant sterols and plant nutrients.
A handful of nuts, which is around 30-35g, a day has the power to lower cholesterol by an average of five per cent, according to Heart UK.
This equates to one of the following: 32 almonds, 10 Brazil nuts, 28 cashews, four chestnuts, 21 hazelnuts, 21 macadamias, 28 peanuts, 35 pistachios and 11 walnut halves.
Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is vital for the normal functioning of the body.
However, having an excessively high level of cholesterol in the blood is bad for the health.
Cholesterol is carried in the blood by proteins. When the two combine they are called lipoproteins.
HDL is referred to as ‘good cholesterol’. This is because it carries cholesterol away from the cells and back to the liver, where it is either broken down or passed out of the body as a waste product.
LDL is referred to as ‘bad cholesterol’. LDL carries cholesterol to the cells that need it, but if there’s too much for the cells to use, it can build up in the artery walls.
This leads to disease of the arteries and causes heart complications.
Heart UK also recommends eating soya foods, oats and barley, food fortified with plant sterols and stanols, fruit and vegetables, and food rich in unsaturated fat, in order to lower cholesterol.
“Some foods punch well above their weight in helping to reduce cholesterol levels,” said Heart UK.
“Choosing a healthy diet, low in saturated fat, is important in helping to keep your cholesterol low but you can reduce your cholesterol levels further by including these six super foods in your every day diet.”