The risk of cardiovascular disease rises among people eating unhealthy food. If you have problems with blood pressure or any of chronic heart diseases, you are to control your daily ration. What products and eating habits are good for your heart?
It is a well-known fact that eating heart-healthy food helps to prevent cardiovascular disease. At the same time, there has been much a great confusion recently as to what products actually belong to this diet. Should one stick to low-fat food or opt for a low-carb ration? Many questions and almost no exact answers.
Key guidelines for a heart-healthy diet
With all confusions, there is a growing consensus on the general rules of heart-healthy eating. They are quite simple to obey:
- Control the number of calories per day only necessary to maintain healthy weight and not to gain extra pounds.
- The more vegetables and fruits, the better.
- Choose whole grain breads and pastas.
- The red meat should be limited. Replace it by chicken, fish and legumes to gain a good portion of protein every day.
- Avoid using products containing trans fats.
- Exclude processed foods, especially processed carbohydrates.
In order to feel better, you should only follow these simple tips, and your confusion will disappear.
What about low-fat and low-carb foods?
Followers of low-carb diets have been fighting proponents of low-fat eating for many years, and the main apple of discord is a right dietary approach. However, if you compare the recent recommendations from both sides, you will find much in common.
At last, low-fat followers have had to admit that specific fats do good for your health. According to official dietary guidelines, the worth of low-fat eating is overrated. And the same is with carbohydrates.
As a result, general recommendations from low-fat and low-carb zealots now resemble each other, although both camps do not want to admit it. In fact, they look a lot like the basic rules of heart-healthy eating, listed above.
The Mediterranean Diet
Most patients with heart problems stick to this diet, as it seems the best compromise between low-carb and low-fat sides. The Mediterranean diet takes the best features and leaves aside the worst features of both viewpoints. It also contains the basic rules of healthy eating.
In addition, according to the recent clinical studies among more than 400000 participants, people who followed it for 5 years had a 20% less risk to die from cardiovascular disease or cancer. Studies have also shown that women and men on this diet have improved blood pressures and blood glucose levels, cholesterol values and reduced a risk of metabolic syndrome, in comparison to people on low-fat or other poor diets.
Learn the following tips for the Mediterranean diet:
- Replace red meat with fish;
- Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits;
- Limit fatty dairy products;
- Exclude butter, baked goods and foods containing trans fats;
- Use only olive or canola oil for cooking;
- Eat a handful of walnuts, pecans or almonds per day;
- Drink a glass of red wine in the evening (check this tip with your doctor).
Other tips for a heart-healthy life
Make six rules of healthy eating a part of your daily life and you will definitely feel better. In order to increase the quality of life even more, follow these simple recommendations:
- Opt for products containing omega-3 fatty acids;
- Eat more nuts, as they reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by 40% if taken 4-5 times a week;
- Do not drink much alcohol. 5 ounces of wine or 12 ounces of beer per day raise HDL and decrease LDL, but heavy drinking brings only damage to your heart;
- Limit salt in your daily food.
According to medical experts, combining heart-healthy eating with regular exercises helps to maintain reasonable weight and reduce the risk of heart problems. Of course, there are some factors in losing extra pounds that cannot be controlled easily (for example, genetics and psychological features). However, daily or even weekly training will help a lot. Although it takes much dedication and a power of will, it is under your control, so you can use it if you care for your health. In additions, doctors say that it is better to be fit than thin if you have heart problems.