If you want to look good and feel great, this low-fat, high fibre diet containing essential vitamins and minerals to keep your heart healthy, is definitely one to follow for the long-term.
What is the healthy heart diet?
There’s no one diet that’s specifically for your heart, it’s more about long term healthy eating. But there are several important rules to follow that will help keep your heart stay fit and strong. A healthy diet reduces your risk of developing heart disease and can increase your chances of survival after a heart attack too.
How does the healthy heart diet work?
You follow a low fat, high fibre diet full of fruit, veg, fibre and wholegrains. These contain all the essential vitamins and minerals to keep your heart healthy. Because all of these are naturally low fat, you’ll stay slim too which also reduces the risk of strain on your heart.
Who is the healthy heart diet good for?
As we all want and need healthy hearts, this diet is extremely good for all of us.
What are the drawbacks of the healthy heart diet?
As long as you don’t have any particular allergies or food intolerances, there really are none.
Fresh fruit and vegetables are a rich source of antioxidants,
nutrients that help prevent the build-up of plaque in your arteries. Aim
to eat a rainbow of different fruit and vegetables every week, from
yellow peppers and oranges to purple sprouting broccoli and red apples.
Another family of antioxidants, known as bioflavonoids, are found in
tea, red wine, apple skins and oranges, among other foods.
Folic acid, a type of B vitamin, is also important for a healthy heart.
Sources of folic acid include green leafy vegetables, whole grain
cereals, pulses and eggs.
Learn which fats are good and bad for your heart. The two main types of
‘bad’ fat are saturated fats found mainly in animal products such as red
meat and butter and the trans-fats found in processed food like
margarine, pastry and biscuits.
‘Good’ fats are omega 3 fatty acids found in oily fish and omega 6 fats
that appear mainly in olives, nuts, seeds and some vegetables and
Keep an eye too on how much salt you consume. Use herbs like basil and
garlic to flavour food instead of salt and butter. Processed food like
ready meals are often packed full of salt too so get into the habit of
checking labels. Many supermarkets now use a traffic light labelling
system to tell you whether foods have high, medium or low levels of fat,
calories, salt and sugar.
Starchy carbohydrates such as wholemeal pasta, brown bread and brown
rice are also good for your heart and help you stay slim too.
Fruit, veg, wholegrain foods such as brown bread and pasta, fish, nuts, seeds and pulses.
Typical day’s diet
Shredded wheat, semi-skimmed milk, wholemeal bread with olive oil spread
Jacket potato with baked beans, salad, low-fat yoghurt
Chicken stir fry with mixed veg and noodles
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Remember, too much alcohol can damage the heart muscle, lead to high
blood pressure and lead to weight gain. But moderate drinking (1-2 units
of alcohol a day) can help protect your heart if you’re a man over 40
or a woman who’s been through the menopause.
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Find out more
Visit the British Heart Foundation’s website www.bhf.org.uk or www.heartresearch.org.uk for more information.