National Nutrition Week 2022: Which Foods Your Cardiac Diet Plan Should Include

Following a cardiac diet would not only keep your heart healthy but also improve overall well-being.

Chanchal Sengar
Written by: Chanchal SengarPublished at: Sep 06, 2022Updated at: Sep 06, 2022
National Nutrition Week 2022: Which Foods Your Cardiac Diet Plan Should Include

Whether you want to lose weight, manage cardiovascular issues or simply avoid any health complications, a healthy, clean eating pattern can help you move towards that goal. Understanding what foods are good or bad and taking small steps to include or avoid different foods can be a game changer. In this article, Arooshi Garg, Lifestyle Expert, GOQii, tells all about cardiac diet which is a heart-healthy diet.

While eating habits are formed slowly and changing them can be overwhelming, here are some foods and eating habits that can help you maintain a healthy heart:  

1. Control portions

Eyeballing your food to check the estimated calories is the easiest way to avoid overeating and over consumption. Even healthy foods like nuts, when taken in excess, are harmful. Always choose low calorie and high fibre foods to fill yourself like raw fruits and vegetables. Take smaller portions of calorie dense and high salt foods for a healthy heart. Another tip is to choose a smaller plate when eating.

2. Choose raw vegetables

Having at least three to four servings of fresh and local vegetables is very essential to get a good supply of heart healthy antioxidants. Choose bright coloured vegetables to get maximum benefits. Fibre which is present in vegetables helps in controlling high BP, fat deposition in arteries and also eases digestion.

Cardiac diet plan foods to eat avoid

3. Include whole grains, millets

Grains are naturally high in fibre and nutrients. Avoid refined and processed cereals like all-purpose flour, breads, and bakery products. Instead, choose locally available native millets like barley, ragi, bajra, quinoa, and farro.

4. Consume salt mindfully

Having too much salt can worsen cardiac health and cause hypertension. Adding no table salt and reducing salt while you cook is the first step. Reducing hidden salt from foods like cornflakes, muesli, breads, biscuits, sauces, and pickles is the next step. Choose less refined salts like rock salt or Himalayan salt. Be wary if you have thyroid, as you might need regular iodized salt. Flavour your dishes using dill, coriander, mint, lemon, and oregano instead.

5. Choose low-fat high protein sources

Avoid animal products that are high in fat such as full fat milk, cheese, etc. Go for low fat/toned milk, choose leaner cuts, fish, and eggs to meet your protein requirement. Products like soya granules, sprouts, powdered pulses are good, low-fat sources of protein and contain no cholesterol. They can be easily added to the diet to increase protein intake.

6. Control the intake of nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds when consumed in moderation are extremely beneficial. Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, sabja seeds, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds are rich in heart healthy fats known as omega-3 fatty acids. These help in increasing the good cholesterol component essential for limiting inflammation in heart patients. However, excess of these nuts and seeds can also lead to increased fat intake, which is not ideal.

7. Engage in cardio activities

Cardiac diet plan foods to eat avoid

As the name suggests any type of physical activity that affects the heart activity is considered good for cardiovascular health. If you are unable to go to the gym, try to walk for at least 30 minutes daily. A quick 30-minute fast walk can help you get good cardio activity to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and improve energy levels. It can also help you fight weight gain to improve overall cardiac health. Finding small pockets of time for cardiovascular fitness in the form of walking can be really helpful. Choose any activity like jogging, running, cycling, swimming, Zumba, or aerobics, etc.

8. Say no to smoking and alcohol

Limit your alcohol intake. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease. The chemicals you inhale when you smoke, damage your heart and blood vessels.

Moderate indulgences should not hamper your heart health journey, so an occasional favourite meal or a piece of cookie won’t harm you. However, balancing your choices and changing your eating habits in the long run is the key to better heart health.

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