Healthy Diet for Heart
A cardiac diet is a diet meant to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease. It is part of the treatment doctors prescribe for patient with heart and blood vessel problems. Heart and blood vessel problems are known as cardiovascular diseases. They are the number one cause of death worldwide. If you have a cardiovascular disease, your doctor will prescribe a cardiac diet to you. A cardiac diet can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
There are three main goals of the cardiac diet:
- Lower blood cholesterol levels.
- Lower blood pressure.
- Reduce body weight.
Cholesterol is a type of fat the body needs. However, the body makes enough cholesterol and it is not necessary to eat a lot of it. Limiting unhealthy fats and cholesterol is the most important step you can take to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. There are three types of unhealthy fats: saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. To limit saturated fat, you should avoid butter and margarine. To limit saturated fat, you can also remove fat from meat or choose meats with less than 10% fat. Saturated fats are also found in dairy products such as whole milk products and cheeses.
There are two type of the good unsaturated fat, the fat coming mostly from vegetable products:
- Monounsaturated such as olive and canola oil.
- Polyunsaturated fats such as fats found in nuts.
Protein is very important to the body. It helps the body grow muscles, repair tissue. All cells include protein. It is important to eat healthy protein that is low in saturated fat to keep the heart healthy. Foods that are a good source of protein with low-fat include low-fat dairy products, egg whites or egg substitutes, poultry and fish, and lean meats. Certain types of fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are especially good for heart health. These types of fish have a special fat, omega-3 fatty acids, which lowers fat in the blood.
The body needs vitamins to function well. It also needs fiber to keep a healthy digestive system. More and more studies are finding the importance of eating many servings of vegetables and fruits to stay healthy in general. Eating more vegetables and fruits can help you get the nutrients your body needs while at the same time avoiding foods that have high-fat content. That is why vegetables and fruits are part of the cardiac diet.
Keeping fruits in a bowl on the dinner table where you can see them can remind you to eat them instead of high-fat foods such as chips.
Sodium is a mineral. It is needed by the body for many functions. However, the body needs about 2 grams or a teaspoon of it every day. Too much sodium may cause hypertension or high blood pressure. Talk with your healthcare provider about how much sodium is right for you. Different people may have different sodium needs and restrictions. Reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking is not enough. Most sodium that we eat comes from canned or processed foods.