Heart Healthy Eating
A heart-healthy lifestyle means you should eat healthy , maintain a healthy body weight, do regular physical activity and avoid smoking and alcohol.
If you already have heart disease, changing the balance of foods you eat can lower your overall risk of heart attack and stroke, and improve your heart health.
If you want to stop yourself getting heart disease, what you eat, how active you are, and being smoke-free can reduce your risk by as much as 80%.
Even if you are on medications for increased cholesterol, increase blood pressure, diabetes or any heart disease, following a heart-healthy eating pattern will help to further lower your heart risk.
Nine steps to Heart Healthy Eating
- Include plenty of colourful non-starchy vegetables and/or fruit at every meal and for most snacks
- Eating at least 5 serves (400g) of vegetables and fruit each day has been associated with lower rates of heart disease, obesity, and lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
- Eating plenty of foods with lower energy density, like non-starchy vegetables and fruit, can help manage body weight because we fill up on foods with fewer calories.
Caution : If we consume too much energy, our body stores the fuel,leading to weight gain.
- Choose intact whole grains in place of refined grain products
- Choose whole grain and high-fibre carbohydrate foods as these are protective against heart disease.
- Fibre helps the bowels work properly and improves cholesterol and glucose levels.
- Grain foods and starchy vegetables are a good source of fibre, vitamins and minerals.
- Grain Foods: oats, barley, brown rice, whole grain bread, millet, whole grain wraps, chapatti, roti.
- Starchy vegetables: Potato, Sweet Potato, Corn, Beetroot, Yams, Green Banana.
- Include some legumes, fish, seafood,eggs, poultry or meat each day which are a good source of protein, iron , zinc and B vitamins
- Legumes , dired peas, beans ( pulses) -chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, red kidney beans, soybeans, ,split peas
- Fish – mackerel, sardines,salmon, kahawai
Caution : Limit the amounts of processed meats and sausages eaten, as the fat is hidden. Processed meats can also be high in salt, which can raise blood pressure
If you are Vegetarian you can still obtain hearthealthy fats from nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and spreads.
- Use mostly reduced-fat or low-fat milk or milk products (or calcium-rich alternatives)every day which are good source of calcium, protein and some carbohydrate.
Caution : Yoghurts and milk drinks are often sweetened. Choose unsweetened varieties to limit your intake of added sugar
- Choose healthy oils, nuts and seeds instead of animal and coconut fats.
- Nuts, seeds, avocado, olives and healthy oils contain heart-healthy poly and monounsaturated fats.
Palm oil and coconut oil contain high levels of saturated fat which can increase your risk of heart disease
Unrefined oils, or also known as ‘cold-pressed’ or ‘extra virgin’, undergoes very little processing. Therefore these oils have higher levels of many beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants.
- Drink water to quench thirst, and limit sugary drinks and alcohol
- When preparing meals use pepper, herbs,spices or fruit to add flavour rather than salt or sugar
- Cut back on junk foods, takeaways & foods high in sugar, salt or saturated and trans fats.
- Share and enjoy regular meals with family and friends that focus mostly on foods close to how they are found in nature
Move More For Healthy Heart
Fit in 150+
- Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity (or a combination of both), preferably spread throughout the week.
Move More, Sit Less
- Get up and move throughout the day. Any activity is better than none. Even light-intensity activity can offset the serious health risks of being sedentary
- Moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise is best. Your heart will beat faster, and you’ll breathe harder than normal. As you get used to being more active, increase your time and/or intensity to get more beneﬁts.
- Include moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity (like resistance or weight training) at least twice a week.
- Physical activity is linked with better sleep, memory, balance and cognitive ability
- And less risk of weight gain, chronic disease, dementia and depression. It’s one of the most important things you can do for your health and well-being
Move More, With More Intensity, And Sit Less.