Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women, and the cause of more deaths than all forms of cancer combined. Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease can affect your overall quality of life, but with a bit of effort and applying healthy lifestyle choices, you can reduce your risk of heart disease by 80%.
Be smart about fats. Taking care of your heart’s health doesn’t mean avoiding fat altogether, it’s about replacing unhealthy fats with good fats.
– You need to cut out trans fats found in fried food and baked goods, since they raise LDL levels, lower HDL levels and increase the risk of a stroke.
– Limit saturated fats found in dairy, red meat and tropical oils.
– Eat more healthy fats: Foods that are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, like fish, nuts, avocados, flaxseed, can improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.
Don’t replace fat with sugar or refined carbs. When you’re cutting back on unhealthy fats, you have to replace them with healthy alternatives. For example, don’t replace your breakfast bacon with sugary cereals or a donut – both loaded with refined carbs – because you won’t be doing anything in terms of reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease. You have to replace processed meats with healthy alternatives like chicken or fish in order to make a positive impact on your health. Opt for unrefined whole grains instead of white bread and pizza.
Focus on high-fiber food. A diet high in fiber can lower the levels of bad cholesterol and help protect against heart disease. It also helps you lose weight because fiber stays in the stomach longer than other foods thus making you feel full for much longer. Fiber also gives you more energy to exercise and stay fit.
Avoid salt and processed foods. Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease. So in order to reduce your sodium intake, reduce eating canned or processed foods like frozen dinners, use spices for flavor instead of salt, and look for the “low sodium” label when buying your groceries.
Cook more at home. Eating out or ordering makes it harder to take care of your heart since the portions are usually too large and contain too much salt, sugar, and unhealthy fat. When you cook at home, you can better control the portions and the content of your meals. You can also dedicate a day or two to prepare your meals for the entire week.
In a nutshell, in order to take care of your heart, your diet needs to be clean. We have compiled the below recommendations to make it easier for you to eat more heart-healthy foods, and you can also book an appointment with Dietitian Christelle Bedrossian to get a custom diet plan based on your current health status.
|Eat More:||Eat Less:|
|Healthy fats, such as raw nuts, olive oil, fish oils, flaxseeds, and avocados.||Trans fats from partially hydrogenated or deep-fried foods; saturated fats from fried food, fast food, and snack foods.|
|Colorful fruits and vegetables—fresh or frozen.||Packaged foods, especially those high in sodium and sugar.|
|High-fiber cereals, bread, and pasta made from whole grains or legumes.||White bread, sugary cereals, refined pasta or rice.|
|High-quality protein, such as fish and poultry.||Processed meat such as bacon, sausage, and salami, and fried chicken.|
|Dairy such as eggs, skim milk, or unsweetened yogurt.||Yogurt with added sugar; processed cheese.|