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Nestlé World Heart Day

Keep your heart healthy

Why you need to eat five fruit and vegetables a day to keep heart disease at bay...

Embargoed for print in August/September 2014 only: Cardiovascular disease kills an average of 200 people a day in South Africa*. While certain factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, body shape and family history of cardiovascular disease cannot be changed, lifestyle and diet choices can.

An independent survey conducted by Nestlé South Africa revealed that 72% of all respondents worry about their lifestyle and how it affects their heart health. The survey also uncovered that the healthy heart behaviours which respondents devote the least amount of attention to were adequate amounts of exercise and eating less red meat and more fish.

“A healthy, well-balanced diet includes at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day,” explains Nestlé South Africa’s Wellness Manager Naazneen Khan. “We need to eat fruit and vegetables daily for their soluble fibre, which helps maintain healthy blood fat levels by helping reduce cholesterol absorption, and also for their high levels of antioxidants, which assist in preventing the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries.”

Fruit and veggies play a hugely beneficial role in protecting the body against cardiovascular disease, yet more than 30% of respondents admit to only eating one portion of fruit and vegetables a day. Their favourite veggies are carrots (13%), spinach (12%) and butternut (11%) and interestingly 49% of respondents said they eat more vegetables than fruit, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that only 17% are eating the recommended three or more portions of vegetables a day.

For optimum heart health, fruits and vegetables from the entire spectrum of colours should be included in one’s diet and 90% of respondents agreed with this statement. More than half of the respondents also knew what a perfect dinner plate is composed of (50% vegetables, 25% protein and 25% starch), but only 29% admitted that their typical dinner plate is composed in such a balanced and healthy way.

Other interesting morsels the survey revealed are:

  • Almost 1 in 4 (22%) respondents don’t know that foods high in antioxidants reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • The majority do not know what ‘good’ High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (55%) and ‘bad’ Low Density Lipoprotein (LDH) cholesterol is (57%).
  • Bananas (19%), apples (17%) and avocados (10%) are favourite fruits.
  • Green beans, asparagus, brussel sprouts and eggplants are respondents’ least favourite veggies to eat.
  • Respondents claim to eat white fruit and veggies (27%) most often, followed by green (25%), yellow/orange (19%), red (14%) and blue/purple (5%).
  • Blue and purple fruit and veggies such as prunes, grapes and eggplants are less popular with South African consumers.
  • Females and consumers older than 40 appear to be more knowledgeable about heart health.

“The survey showed that generally speaking people are aware of many important factors affecting heart health. Now we need to set about changing behaviour patterns so that people will reap the benefits of healthier dietary and lifestyle choices,” says Naazneen.

For more helpful tips on how to adopt a healthy lifestyle, visit

Notes to editors

The Nestlé research

  • The research for this independent survey was conducted by Columinate
  • 400 participants took part in the survey, and they were unaware that the research was commissioned by Nestlé South Africa
  • Respondents of all races and ages from across the country were invited to participate

About Nestlé South Africa

Nestlé South Africa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nestlé Switzerland. The company was formally registered in South Africa about 98 years ago. The first Nestlé products arrived in South Africa during the 1870s, and the company’s presence in South Africa was formally entrenched on 7 July 1916 when it registered as a company. In order to meet the demands of a growing country, local production started in 1927 with the purchase of the South African Condensed Milk Company Ltd factory in Donnybrook, and the Estcourt and Franklin factories. Nestlé South Africa also services neighbouring countries – Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana and Namibia. Nestlé is committed to bringing consumers tastier, healthier choices in their product offering, and will continuously strive to become the leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company.