What to eat and what to avoid
A heart-healthy diet is essential for maintaining good cardiovascular health.
Eating a nutritious diet can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, lower blood
pressure, and improve cholesterol levels. In this blog post, we'll explore what to
eat and what to avoid in order to maintain a heart-healthy diet.
What to Eat
- Fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients and
antioxidants that can help to improve heart health. They are also low in
calories, making them a great choice for weight management. Aim for at
least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
- Whole grains: Whole grains are a great source of fibre, which can help
to lower cholesterol levels and improve heart health. Choose whole grain
cereals and oats and aim for at least 3-4 servings per day.
- Millets: As this is international millet year, you can add more Jowar,
Bajra, Ragi, Varai, Kodu, Sama Millets to reduce risk of lifestyle related
disorders as they are high in fibres & nutrients
- High Protein Sources
- Lean proteins: Lean proteins such as boneless chicken, turkey,
fish are a great source of protein without added saturated fats avoid
having red meat. Aim for at least two servings of lean protein per
day. Eggs are also good source of proteins. If cholesterol is high
have egg whites.
- Vegetable proteins: You can add more Dals, legumes, soyabeans,
sprouts, paneer, tofu etc. in meals.
- Healthy fats: Healthy fats i.e. omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in
nuts, oil seeds, avocado and olive oil can help to improve cholesterol
levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Aim for at least two servings
of healthy fats per day. For example - Flaxseeds, almonds, walnuts etc.
- Low-fat dairy: Low-fat dairy products such as cow’s milk, paneer and
yogurt, buttermilk are a great source of calcium and protein without
added saturated fats which is found in whole-fat dairy products. Aim for
two to three servings of low-fat dairy per day.
What to Avoid
- Saturated and trans fats: Saturated and trans fats can raise cholesterol
levels and increase the risk of heart disease. Avoid foods that are high in
saturated and trans fats such as fatty meats, butter, cream and processed
snacks, fried food items, packed foods, cheese etc.
- Added sugars: Simple sugars can increase the risk of obesity and type 2
diabetes both of which are risk factors for heart disease. Avoid sugary
drinks and processed snacks that are high in added sugars.
- Sodium: Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure which
is a risk factor for heart disease. Avoid foods that are high in sodium such
as processed and fast foods. i.e. pickles, papad, salad, biscuits, chips etc.
- Alcohol: Consuming too much alcohol can increase blood pressure and
contribute to weight gain both of which are risk factors for heart disease.
Limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women and two
drinks per day for men.
Tips for Maintaining a Heart-Healthy Diet
- Plan meals ahead of time: Planning meals ahead of time can help to
ensure that you are consuming a balanced and nutritious diet. Make a
grocery list and plan meals for the week ahead.
- Cook at home: Cooking at home allows you to control the ingredients
used and portion sizes of your meals. Try to cook at home as often as
- Use herbs and spices for flavour: Herbs and spices are a great way to
add flavour to meals without adding extra sodium or unhealthy fats.
Adding garlic in the diet helps to keep heart healthy.
- Read food labels: Reading food labels can help to identify foods that are
high in sodium, added sugars/ and unhealthy fats. Look for products that
are low in these ingredients.
- Stay hydrated: Staying hydrated is important for maintaining good
cardiovascular health. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day.
- Be mindful of portion sizes: Portion sizes can have a big impact on
overall caloric intake. Use smaller plates and be mindful of serving sizes
to avoid overeating.
Maintaining a heart-healthy diet is essential for good cardiovascular
health. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean
proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy can help to reduce the risk of