Limit fat and cholesterol. Some examples of foods high in fat and cholesterol include butter, lard, hydrogenated margarine, cream sauces, coconut, palm and cottonseed oils, cocoa butter and bacon fat. Excess fat in the diet can contribute to weight gain and elevated cholesterol levels. These are both risk factors for heart disease.
Choose low-fat proteins.
- Most saturated fats come from animal sources so it’s important to eat lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry, fish, low-fat dairy and egg whites
- Non-meat low-fat proteins include: dried beans, legumes, soy-based products and tofu
Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products.
- Skim or 1% cow’s milk is recommended
- Soy or almond milk are both low-fat and nutrient dense
- Eat low-fat or fat-free cheeses
- Nonfat or low-fat yogurt is a healthy option
- Soy-based cheeses
Eat more omega-3 fats. They have been shown to be beneficial for heart health by raising HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Animal sources include: salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines
- Aim for fish twice per week
- Other sources include: walnuts, canola and soybean oil
- Fish oil supplements are another source, although they do not contain other nutrients found in the food sources
Eat nuts and seeds 3 days per week. They have been shown to improve blood pressure.
- 5 to 6 nuts is a serving size for mixed nuts, almonds, cashews and pecan halves
- Read food labels to determine serving size for other nuts and seeds
Eat more fruits and vegetables daily. They have been shown to improve blood pressure.
- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables are recommended daily
- Choose fresh or frozen without added fat or salt; unlike canned produce, frozen fruits and vegetables retain vitamin and mineral content
- Have 2 tbsp. of dried fruit as a snack instead of candy
- Cut up fresh pieces of fruits and vegetables to have them ready for regular snacks
- Try ones you’ve never had before to diversify your diet as well as to ensure that you obtain as many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as you can
- Make them the main part of your meal at least once daily
Maintain or lose weight if you need to. Obesity and being overweight is a risk factor for heart disease. Carrying extra weight can also cause too much stress on your heart.
- Read food labels to determine serving sizes
- Avoid eating when you are not hungry
- Use small plates for meals
- Have pre-portioned meals and snacks available
- Avoid going back for seconds
- Practice portion control
- Limit desserts and sweets
- Eliminate or limit sweetened drinks like soda since they are low in nutritional value and high in calories
Be careful when eating out. Restaurant foods typically contain higher amounts of fat, calories and salt than the same foods you may prepare at home.
- Ask for less salt and fat added to foods prepared at the restaurant
- Follow similar guidelines as you do at home
- Obtain the restaurant's nutrition information either from the restaurant or online and keep handy for visits
- Try to choose restaurants that have heart-healthy menu items
- Have in mind what you will order before arriving
- Avoid dishes with heavy creams or toppings
- Choose grilled, steamed or broiled items instead of fried
- Avoid overeating pre-meal items such as rolls, chips or appetizers
- Watch out for sauces on sandwiches and in salads, always ask what they are made of
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert
& get answers to your questions!