Complete nutrition is tremendously important for proper functioning of the body. Diet plays a very critical role for those who are already dealing with coronary problems. Most of the heart problems are caused by obesity, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes and these occur due to our poor lifestyle and food habits. National Nutrition Week is celebrated from 1st to 7th September, which aims on making people aware about healthy nutrition and diet.
This year, we bring to you some important diet tips for various health concerns and lifestyle-related issues. In the previous stories of this series, we discussed about diet tips for hair fall, acne, childhood obesity and many more. For this article, Onlymyhealth editorial team talked to Dr. Megha Jaina, Clinical Nutritionist, BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital, New Delhi, about the nutrition and diet to prevent and manage heart problems.
Foods and drinks for heart problems
Here in this article we have discussed that how you can fulfill nutritional needs of your heart by including certain foods in your diet. These foods help you in combating various risk factors like cholesterol and help you in improving heart health:
1. Omega 3
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Fats are mostly harmful for our body, but certain essential fats like Omega-3 are beneficial for us. Omega 3 helps in smooth working of muscles present in our heart. They also help in controlling hormone production which aids in blood clotting. You can include fatty fish like salmon and Tuna in your diet. Vegans can include various vegetable oils, nuts and seeds like fenugreek, walnut, flaxseeds etc in their diet.
Fibre is very beneficial for our body. It is present in two forms- soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber acts as roughage in the body and helps in keeping your gut healthy. Insoluble fibers are good for heart health. You can include food items like oats, carrots, apple and citrus fruits. Including fibre in your diet can help you to stabilize cholesterol levels.
MUFA stands for Mono-Unsaturated Fatty Acid. These fatty acids facilitate weight loss and improve HDl levels in the body. It helps in eliminating various risk factors like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. MUFA is present in olive oil and canola oil. Fruits like avocados and almonds are also a good source of mono unsaturated fatty acids. You can also include nut butters in your diet to fulfill the nutritional requirements of the body.
Folate, also known as vitamin-B has many cardiovascular benefits. It helps in breakdown of harmful amino acids like homocysteine, which cause various vascular diseases. Folate is found in all dark green leafy vegetables like kale, beans and even in citrus fruits. It is also very essential during the early stages of pregnancy for development of cardiovascular system in the baby.
5. Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are also very essential for proper functioning of heart. Vitamins like B6, B9, and D are found in fish, citrus fruits and avocado and spinach. Milk products should also be included in optimum amount. Minors like magnesium and potassium are vital for heart health. They help in regulating blood pressure and electrical impulses. You can include fruits nuts etc like banana, almonds, peanut and tofu.
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Diet plan for heart problems
- Breakfast - Oats with almonds and yogurt/
- Lime juice + egg sandwich/ salmon on toast/Kale smoothie
- Lunch- Grilled or sauteed vegetables with brown rice or chapati/ bean salad/ avocado with 2 boiled eggs and bread.
- Snack- Apple and almond butter/ bananas and dark chocolate/ a bowl of seasonal fruits/ a handful of nuts and seeds.
- Dinner- Fish main course/tofu salad/oats khichdi
What foods to avoid for heart problems?
Apart from consuming wholesome foods, you must also focus on what not to eat. Many food items like chips and soda are loaded with harmful ingredients. We should be conscious about the amount of fats and calories in our diet for our heart health and weight management. Here's a list of foods that should be avoided, especially if you are dealing with heart diseases.
1. Processed food
Processed food items like bacon, sausages, cold meat and cheese contain very high amount of fats which are harmful for our heart. Most of the foods that are processed or cured contain large amounts of salt which is not good for blood pressure. Fatty red meats like pork and beef are not beneficial for our heart health but it becomes more harmful when it is processed further.
2. Packaged food
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Packaged food contains high amounts of saturated fats and trans fats. These fats become the major reason for the blockage of coronary arteries. Packaged cereals also contain more amount of refined sugars and carbohydrates. You should try to cut on packaged food as much as possible.
3. Bakery and confectionery products
Consumption of sugar should definitely be regulated if you want a healthier heart. Most bakeries use low quality ingredients like margerine and refined sugars to cut their cost. This can have a negative impact on our body. Most bakery products are loaded with fats preservatives, and lots of sugar, which can make you more prone to diseases like diabetes.
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