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Healthy Eating And The Heart

Does eating really matter?

Yes, what you eat makes a big difference to your heart. By choosing the right balance of foods to eat you can reduce your chances of having a heart attack or stroke. The correct balance of foods will also complement the medicines that are prescribed by your doctor.

The main goal of a healthy diet is to keep meals interesting with a variety of foods-including your favorites.

Understand your food pyramid

food-pyramid-img

Vegetables

Vegetables contain high nutrients. If you eat plenty of different colored vegetables, you get a variety of nutrients. Eat lot of dark green vegetables, bright red and orange vegetables.

Fruits

Most of your fruit should come from whole sources. Try any fruit that’s fresh,  frozen, or canned in its own juice (no sugar added).

Milk

This group includes milk as well as foods made from milk that are also high in calcium (such as cheese, cottage cheese, and yogurt).

Meat and beans

This group includes foods high in protein  (meat, poultry, fish, soy products, beans,  nuts, seeds, and eggs). Try to get protein from a variety of sources. Look for meat with little or no visible fat.

Choose fat-free, low-fat, or reduced-fat products from this group whenever possible. These products contain less fat and fewer calories.

Read nutrition label

Read the Nutrition Facts label if you are unsure of how many amount of food contains. Reading food labels is one of the best things you can do to eat for a healthier heart.

Check the label for fats

The nutrition label tells you how many grams (g) of total fat are in a food.  Unsaturated fats helps control cholesterol levels and are good for your heart in moderate amounts. Limit saturated fats as they raise your levels of cholesterol. Avoid trans fats as they can worse your cholesterol than saturated fats.

Look for sodium and fiber

This number tells you how much sodium is in 1 serving. Choose foods with the lowest number for sodium. Look for foods that have the most fiber.

Food Table

Heart healthy food groups

Daily servings

How much is a serving?

Fruits and colored vegetables

Aim to eat at least 8 servings daily

1 piece of fruit, 1/2 cup canned fruit in natural fruit juice, 1 cup raw leafy or salad vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 1 tomato or 1 carrot

Grains and starchy vegetables

Choose a variety of grain products with at least half as whole grain products.

Aim to eat at least 6 or more grains and starchy vegetables.

1 medium slice bread, 1/2 cup pasta or porridge, 1/2 cup whole wheat cereal, 1 small potato, 1/2 cup kumara, 3 whole grain crisp breads

Fish and seafood, dried peas and beans, lean meat and skinned poultry

Eat between 1-3 depending on kilojoule requirements

150 grams 'lite' tuna, 2 small or 1 large fillet of cooked fish, 1/2 cup lean mince or casserole, 1 cup cooked dried beans

Milk and milk products

Use soy substitutes if preferred.

Eat 2-3 depending on kilojoule requirements

1 cup trim or very low-fat milk, 1/3 cup cottage cheese, 1 small bottle low-fat yoghurt, 2 Tbsp. grated parmesan

Oils, spreads, nuts, seeds and avocado

Choose products made from sunflower, soya bean, olive, canola, linseed, safflower, or nuts and seeds other than coconut.

Eat 3 or more depending on kilojoule requirements

1 tsp soft table margarine or oil, 2 tsp light margarine, 1 dessertspoon nuts, 1 Tbsp avocado

Non-alcoholic drinks

Between 6-8 non-alcoholic drinks

1 glass water, 1 cup tea, coffee or 'diet' soft drink

The Heart Foundations Nine steps to eating for a healthy heart:

  • Enjoy three meals a day, selecting from dishes that encourage you to eat plant foods and fish, with little or no dairy fat, meat fat or deep fried foods
  • Choose fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and most snacks
  • Select whole grains, whole grain breads, or high fiber breakfast cereals in place of white bread and low fiber varieties at most meals and snacks
  • Include fish, or dried peas, beans and soy products, or a small serving of lean meat or skinned poultry, at one or two meals each day
  • Choose low fat milk, low fat milk products, soy or legume products every day
  • Use small amounts of oil, margarine, nuts or seeds
  • Drink plenty of fluids each day, particularly water, and limit sugar-sweetened drinks and alcohol
  • Use only small amounts of total fats and oils, sugar and salt when cooking and preparing meals, snacks, or drinks. Choose ready-prepared foods low in these ingredients
  • Mostly avoid or rarely include butter, deep-fried and fatty foods, and only occasionally choose sweet bakery products

Choosing to be smart for your heart

Are you ready to take steps to reduce your risk of heart disease and heart attack? It’s up to you. It may take time to change your habits, but it’s worth the rewards. You’ll still enjoy eating.  And you’ll feel better, too. Here’s what you need to do:  Limit the amount of fat, cholesterol, and salt you eat.  Read food labels and use food pyramid to help you choose foods that are low in fat and high in fiber.  Eat the right number of calories to stay at a healthy weight.  Get some physical activity on most days.

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy

Dr UwiKlima, Cardio-thoracic surgeon at BR Medical Suites speaks about 'How to Keep Your Heart Healthy'

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