Diet for Healthy Heart

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 25, 2011

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Heart diseases have become a leading cause of death both in men and women worldwide. You need to take special care of your heart to prevent it from diseases--- that means have a heart-healthy diet. Many people are not aware that nutrition has an important role in cardiovascular health. According to experts people at risk for heart disease should start eating a heart-healthy diet before starting medications. Changing to heart-healthy diet can help stop or even reverse heart disease.


What foods are part of heart-healthy diet?


A heart-healthy diet includes ---foods that are considered to be good for your heart health and limiting foods that are not so good for you. Heart healthy foods contain vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients. A heart-healthy diet includes

  • Plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods.
  • Low fat dairy products, lean meat, poultry, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish.
  • Low salt (sodium).
  • Limited calories
  • Adequate and regular physical activity.

Foods that should be limited include

  • Saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol
  • Saturated fats are present in animal products, such as meats and dairy products.
  • Trans fats are found in processed foods, such as fries, cookies, crackers, and snack foods. Most eateries use hydrogenated oils for cooking, so try to limit eating out.

[Read: Heart Healthy Oils]

  • Animal products, such as eggs, dairy products, and meats contain high amount of cholesterol.
  • * Salt (sodium). Salt is needed to make your food taste good. But too much salt tends to raise blood pressure. Reduce the amount of added salt in your diet--use spices and herbs such as parsley, oregano and basil leaves to make your food taste good. Consult your doctor before using salt substitutes (low-sodium salts).

Foods high in fats and cholesterol tend to increase LDL ("bad") cholesterol in your blood. High levels of LDL cholesterol in your blood increases your risk of coronary artery disease and heart attack.


Why is it important to choose a heart-healthy diet?


Research has shown that eating heart-healthy diet decreases your risk of heart diseases, coronary artery disease and heart attack. A heart-healthy diet has been noted to

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Control blood cholesterol levels
  • Control or prevent diabetes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and even improve your overall health.

Heart-healthy diet is not recommended only for people with health problems or who are at risk of heart diseases. The diet is beneficial for one and all (including children). However for children younger than 2 years you need not use low fat or non fat dairy products. After your child is 2 years old you can start using low-fat or nonfat dairy products for them.


Heart-Healthy Diet: Weight Loss and Heart Disease


Being overweight or obese increases your risk of heart disease. What you eat not only affects your weight but your risk for heart disease as well in several ways

  • Overweight or obese people tend to have higher levels of LDL cholesterol or the bad cholesterol which clogs the arteries and causes coronary artery disease and heart attack.
  • Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing hypertension or elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to increase your risk for chest pains, heart attack, and other heart problems.

This makes it important that you stay at a healthy weight. A heart-healthy diet keeps you healthy and can make a big difference in your risk of heart diseases.


Read more articles on Heart Health


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