How to Use a Proper Diet to Stay Heart-Healthy
Heart disease kills more Australians than any other cause. The risk can be reduced if you eat healthy and get reasonable exercise.
It is important to maintain a weight that is healthy for your body size, and eating a good diet will help in maintaining your heart health- this includes management of cholesterol levels and blood pressure. It’s also important to keep your blood sugar in check.
What to Aim for in a Healthy Diet
Adults should eat the following in their daily diet:
- Oily fish – at least twice a week
- Vegetables – 5 serves each day
- Fruit – 2 pieces each day
- Sodium – keep it lower than 1,500 mg per day
- Whole grains – Between 4 and 6 serves each day, depending on age and gender
- Seeds, legumes and nuts
It’s also important to keep these suggestions in mind:
- Saturated fats – less than 10% of your total energy intake
- Reduce processed foods; especially meats, sweets, chips and pastries
- Limit sugary drinks and opt for water
Healthy Foods for a Healthy Heart
From your breakfast to your dinner, and including snacks, you can stay heart-healthy if you utilise the proper foods.
Oats are a great way to start your day. They contain omega-3 fatty acids. They help in keeping arteries clear and lowering levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Use coarse oats rather than instant oatmeal, and add fruit to the top to get more fiber.
Avocado can brighten up a salad or sandwich and make it healthier. Avocados have monounsaturated fats and are helpful in raising good (HDL) cholesterol. They also help the body absorb more lycopene and beta-carotene.
Salmon is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful in reducing blood pressure. Two servings of salmon a week will help your heart remain healthy. Salmon contains antioxidants, too. If you are not a salmon fan, other fish high in oils like mackerel or sardines give your body the same benefits.
Berries, Beans and Nuts
Berries are tasty and good for you. Whether you prefer strawberries, raspberries or blueberries, you will be gaining anti-inflammatory benefits. Berries also reduce your risk not just of heart disease, but also of cancer.
Macadamia nuts, almonds and walnuts have a good deal of omega-3 fatty acids, along with poly and monounsaturated fats. Nuts will add beneficial fibre to your diet, and they’re an excellent source of healthy fats, as is olive oil.
Beans are high in folate, potassium and fibre e.g. black beans, lima beans and kidney beans. The fibre helps you to feel full, and lowers cholesterol. Potassium is vital for a healthy heart muscle. Folate is helpful in breaking down some amino acids that increase heart disease risk. Adding beans to your salads or using them as side dishes for a dinner will be good for your heart health.
Vegetables have always been proclaimed as being good for you, and they’re also powerful. Darker vegetables have flavonoids and carotenoids for good vascular health. Vegetables make a good side dish or you can sauté them with dinner.
Dairy and Chocolate
Milk supplies necessary calcium, which is quite important to the body. Everyone knows it is good for bone health, but it also is helpful in lowering blood pressure. It keeps the artery walls working well so that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard.
Dark chocolate has antioxidants that are helpful in protecting your body from free radicals. It lowers your heart attack risk, as well. One small square is plenty to reap the true benefits of this dark chocolate.
More information on your exact recommendations can be found in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating
If you have questions about Eating Right For a Healthy Heart or for a personalised meal plan, contact your local doctor who will arrange for you to see a dietitian in Sydney. Contact Us Today!