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Good diet 'may cut stroke deaths'

Tens of thousands of deaths from heart disease and stroke could be prevented each year simply by eating healthier food, experts have said.

New guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) suggests small dietary changes, such as reducing salt and saturated fats, would dramatically decrease the number of lives lost to cardiovascular disease - a "largely avoidable" condition.

And it said small changes made across the country could translate into massive improvements in public health, saving millions of pounds each year.

The organisation has set out a series of measures designed to make it easier for people to live a healthier lifestyle.

Experts have called on the food industry to ensure levels of salt and saturated fats are reduced across the board to cut the "huge numbers of unnecessary deaths".

And they said trans fats, which have been shown to increase the risk of heart disease and are classified as toxic by the World Health Organisation, should be eliminated from food altogether.

Professor Mike Kelly, public health director at Nice, said the guidance aimed to reduce the "terrible toll of ill health".

"This isn't about telling individuals to choose salad instead of chips - it's about making sure that the chips we all enjoy occasionally are as healthy as possible," he said.

"That means making further reductions in the salt, trans fats and saturated fats in the food we eat every day."

Nearly six million people in the UK are currently living with the devastating and disabling effects of cardiovascular disease, putting "substantial" strain on the NHS.

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