Is the Cardiac Diet right for you?

Diet plays an important role in overall health, but this is particularly true for your heart. The food you consume can directly impact your risk of heart disease.

It’s therefore important to choose foods that promote a healthy heart. You can do this by adhering to a certain type of diet that emphasizes heart-healthy habits and foods.

Cardiac Diets

You can choose between several different cardiac diets, each with a specific focus and approach. The most popular choices include:

* Mediterranean diet – This diet is based upon the traditional eating habits in the Mediterranean area, which emphasizes plant foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes. The diet also allows occasional consumption of dairy and red meat, as well as moderate amounts of poultry and seafood. Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil and whole grains, as well as other plant-based protein sources.

* DASH Diet: DASH stands for “Dietary approaches to stop hypertension” and is designed to reduce blood pressure and heart disease risk. The DASH diet emphasizes unprocessed, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains and limits sodium, saturated fats and added sugars. The DASH diet includes moderate amounts lean proteins like poultry, fish, and plant-based protein.

* Whole-food plant-based diet – This diet focuses on whole, unprocessed foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes. It also includes nuts, seeds, and other seeds. This diet excludes animal products such as meat, dairy and eggs and emphasizes whole, minimally-processed foods.

Heart Healthy Foods to eat

The cardiac diets are very similar.

There are some foods that you should include in your diet plan, no matter what type of heart diet you choose. The best choices include:

Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants, fibre, and other nutrients which support heart health.

* Whole grains. Whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice contain fiber that can lower cholesterol levels and reduce heart disease risk. When possible, choose whole grains instead of refined grains such as white bread or pasta.

You can reduce your heart disease risk by choosing lean proteins such as poultry, seafood and plant-based protein like beans and Tofu. Avoid processed meats such as bacon and deli-meats and choose options with low saturated fat.

Healthy fats for your heart: Avocados, olive oil and nuts contain heart-healthy fatty acids that help to lower cholesterol and improve blood pressure.

Avoid These Foods

It’s important to also be aware of the foods you should avoid in your diet. You should limit or avoid certain foods on a heart diet.

* Trans and saturated fats can raise cholesterol and increase heart disease risk.

* Sodium. Excessive sodium intake is linked to high blood-pressure, a risk factor for heart diseases.

Sugars added: Sugars in foods and beverages can cause weight gain, and heart disease.

A cardiac diet is a great way to support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

You can improve your overall health by limiting unhealthy foods and adopting other lifestyle changes.

Before you try a heart diet, consult a registered dietitian or healthcare professional to make sure it is right for you.

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