Eating Right With Heart Disease

The American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations

It is recommended to minimize consumption of high-fat meat (especially processed meats that are high in fat and sodium), hard margarines and pastries with hydrogenated fat, and foods that are high in sodium and sugar. It is recommended to drink a lot of water, and reduce consumption of sweetened beverages as well as fresh juices. The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in both primary and secondary prevention. SupplementRecommendationsStrengthLevel of evidenceSodiumIt is recommended to limit salt intake to 2.3 g sodium (6 g/day salt).

As you make daily food choices, base your eating pattern on these recommendations:

nutritional and lifestyle plan for a patient with heart disease

Eating foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat can improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease. Eat omega 3 fatty acids every day, from fatty fish such as salmon, trout, or herring, or from flaxseed, kale, spinach, or walnuts. Other sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts, and nut butters.

It is recommended to substitute salt with other spices and herbs. Cholesterol is found in foods made from animals, such as bacon, whole milk, cheese made from whole milk, ice cream, full-fat frozen yogurt, and eggs.

Trans fats (also known as trans fatty acids) are actually worse than saturated fats. They are variants of unsaturated fats that have been altered during the manufacturing process to make fats and oils harden, (imagine what they’re doing to our insides)! These fats alter our cholesterol levels for the worse and put us at higher risk of heart disease and stroke. That’s why it’s important to limit products where fats have been altered in some way, (such as deep-fried food, pies, pastries, cakes, donuts and some margarines and butter). Small amounts of trans fat occur naturally in milk, cheese, beef and lamb and are not dangerous.

A healthy diet should include diversity of foods and to maintain a healthy weight. It is preferable to eat fresh or frozen food without additional sugar, salt or high-calorie gravies, using cooking methods that retain the original nutrients undestroyed. It should contain a variety of vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, whole wheat bread and high-fiber low-salt food items. Vegetable oils, (especially olive and canola oils, excluding palm and coconut oils), should be preferred over animal fat. Additional elements that may confer health benefits include avocado, nuts, almonds and tahini, low-fat dairy products, green tea and 2 to 3 servings of fatty fish per week.

Foods with 20% or more of the “Daily Value” of cholesterol are high in cholesterol. Eating foods high in fiber and low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol can help prevent high cholesterol.Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet can also lower your blood pressure.