Three Nutrition Tips to a Heart-Healthy Diet

Uncategorized Aug 24, 2020

Heart health affects millions of North Americans and heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. A combination of exercise and diet can lead to a heart healthy lifestyle! Here are the top 3 nutrition tips to get you on the right track.

 

  1. Choose the right fats

Contrary to what we have been lead to believe, rather than removing and avoiding fats entirely, replace with good fats:

  • Zero tolerance to transfats. These fats raise LDL, (“bad” cholesterol), and lowers HDL (“good” cholesterol) which can put you at increased cardiovascular risk.
    • Trans fats are found in:
      • Commercially-baked goods
      • Fried food
      • Partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients, even if it claims to be trans fat-free
    • Limit saturated fats. Saturated fats = tropical oils (coconut), dairy, and red meat. Enjoy in moderation by choosing a variety of protein sources such as fish, skinless chicken, eggs, and beans/lentils.
    • Eat more healthy fats. Eating foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat =
      • Improve blood cholesterol levels
      • Lower your risk of heart disease

Eat omega 3 fatty acids:

  • Fatty fish (salmon, trout, or herring)
  • Flaxseed
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Walnuts
  • Olive oil
  • Avocados
  1. Don’t replace fat with sugar or refined carbs

Healthy alternatives need to be the main focus when cutting back on unhealthy fats and other foods that can cause damage to the heart. Too often people cut back on red meats and fats and replace with refined carbohydrates. Example:

Replacing breakfast bacon with a donut, muffin, bagel or sugary cereal

 

A better option would be to replace the bacon for ½ an avocado or ¼ cup walnuts. Sugary food /refined carbs just are empty calories that tear away at the heart.

Choose:

  • Whole grains like multigrain bread, brown rice, barley, quinoa, oatmeal, and non-starchy vegetables.

 

  1. Focus on high-fiber food

A diet high in fiber can lower “bad” cholesterol and provide nutrients that help protect against heart disease. Fibre stays in the stomach longer than other foods which provide:

  • Feeling of fullness
  • Less hunger

Fiber also moves fat through your digestive system quicker so less of it is absorbed.

 

**When you fill up on fiber, you’ll also have more energy for exercising**

 

There are 2 types of fibre that need to be in balance:

  • Insoluble fiber= whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes
  • Soluble fiber= barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears 

Heart Healthy Food Choices

Foods to limit:

  • Alcohol, Caffeine
  • Dairy products
  • Grains containing gluten (wheat (including wheat varieties like spelt, kamut, farro and durum, plus products like bulgar and semolina), barley, rye, triticale)
  • Peanuts, Corn, Soy
  • Refined sugars, artificial sweeteners
  • Processed and fried foods
  • Pork and red meat

Foods to enjoy:

  • Beans and Lentils
  • Fresh Fruits
    • Berries
  • Fresh Vegetables
    • Beets
    • Leafy greens
    • Bell peppers
  • Fish and Seafood
    • Salmon
  • Poultry, Lamb
  • Gluten free Grains
    • Millet
    • Brown rice
    • Buckwheat
    • Quinoa
    • Oats
  • Coconut oil**, Olive oil, Grapeseed oil, Avocado oil, Flaxseed oil, Hemp oil
  • Eggs
  • Raw, unsalted Nuts and Seeds; Nut Milk; Nut Butters
    • Walnuts
  • Herbs and spices
    • Basil/Cilantro
  • Green tea, Herbal tea, Water

Water goals: 2.5L per day

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