Health and Wealth

Best food for the heart

Introduction

In order to have a healthy heart, we must adopt some habits. The habits can be classified in their categories.

  1.  Unhealthy habits
  2.  Eating Habits
  3.  Physical exercise

We have discussed the exercise for the heart in a previous article: We are not going on it, you can follow the link to get the article. Here we are discussing only the habits to be avoided in order not to harm our heart and the Eating habits we should adopt in order to have a healthy heart.

A.Unhealthy habits that can harm our hearts.

These unhealthy habits include

  • Smoking and alcoholism
  • unhealthy cooking methods

the advisable cooking method include: Grill, steam, boil, poach or microwave food instead of frying or roasting; Avoid adding lard, dripping or oil to meat when cooking; If you have to use fat in cooking, use a small amount of olive, sunflower or rapeseed oil; Trim excess fat from meat and remove the skin from poultry; Make gravy using stock cubes and water from the potatoes or vegetables, instead of using meat juices; Use low fat yogurt or crème Fraiche instead of cream in sauces; Grating cheese and using one with a stronger flavor such as mature cheddar will mean you will need less in sandwiches and sauces.

  • Absence of exercise

Not exercising at all is equivalent to smoking a packet of cigarettes per day.

  • Inappropriate weight.

Watching our weight is also crucial for the health of our hearts. We should endeavor at not being underweight or overweight.

  • Not eating regular meals.

If we do have the habit of eating a balanced diet, this can affect our heart. A balanced diet good for the heart means taking balanced meals, limiting food with high fat, sugar, and salt.

 

We can break unhealthy eating habits through good habits. The table below can serve as a guide.

 

Instead of …. Use this instead…
Chips, crisps, scratchings, chocolate, toffee, fudge, cakes, biscuit chocolate, toffee, fudge, cakes, biscuits

Crispbreads, plain nuts (not betel or Brazil nuts), trail mix, cereal bars, currant bun, malt loaf

Salad cream, mayonnaise, and vinaigrette dressings Low fat or virtually fat-free salad cream or mayonnaise, vinaigrette made with olive oil
Fatty meat products e.g. belly pork, black pudding, burgers, corned beef, duck, faggots, frankfurters, liver, sausage, pate, pastries, pies, salami, sausages, streaky bacon Quorn or lean meats e.g. beef, chicken, game, lamb, pork, rabbit, and turkey.
Salad cream, mayonnaise, and vinaigrette dressings Low fat or virtually fat-free salad cream or mayonnaise, vinaigrette made with olive oil
Whole milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, whole milk powder condensed milk, whole milk powder

Semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk, skimmed milk powder

B.Best Food for our heart

The nutrients’ need for our Heart.

Each of our organs (eye, brain, heart, kidney, etc.) needs specific micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) to function at its best. Those micronutrients can only be found in the different foods or Food supplements that we take daily.

Concerning the heart specifically, it needs some specific micronutrients to function at its best. In general, for a healthy diet, according to the Australian guide for healthy eating, the rule of thumb will be:

A diet high in:

  • Antioxidants,
  • Dietary fiber
  •  Micronutrients

A diet Moderate in:

  • Healthy unsaturated fat

Low in:

  • Saturated fat
  • Added sugar
  • Salt (Sodium).
  • Trans fat

In which food do we find the nutrients for our hearts?

Practically, we can get the balance of food high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, micronutrients, moderate in healthy unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat, Trans fat, added sugar and salt if we eat frequently some specific food. Our daily diet will be made of the following

Cereals and Grains

Aim at 4-6 serves per day of whole-grain and high fiber food. 1 serve will be made up of:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ bread roll
  •  ½ cup cooked pasta/rice/noodles
  • 1 small scone

Vegetable

Aim at 5 serves per day. 1 serve will be made up of:

– ½ cup of cooked vegetables

-1 cup of salad vegetables

-½ cup legumes/beans

Fruits

Aim at 2 serves per day. 1 serve will be made up of:

  • Medium size piece of fruit
  •  ½ cup tinned fruit
  •  ½ cup (125ml) fruit juice
  •  1 ½ tbls dried fruit

Dairy Products

Aim at 3-4 serves per day. 1 serve will be made up of:

  •  1 cup (250ml) milk
  •  200g tub yogurt
  •  2 slices (40g) cheese
  •  1 cup (250ml) rice/soy/cereal drink (calcium-fortified)
  •  Meat and Meat alternatives

Meat and alternatives.

Aim at 2-3 serves per day. 1 serve will be made up of:

  • 65g cooked lean meat
  •  1 cup legumes/ beans
  • 30g (small handful) nuts/ seeds
  •  80g cooked lean poultry
  • 100g cooked fish fillet
  • 2 eggs

Role of cholesterol in your heart health

Bad cholesterol (LDL) puts your heart in Danger of heart diseases, while good cholesterol improves the health of your heart. In order to include only good cholesterol (found in healthy fat) in your diet, you may do the following:

  • Include a moderate amount of healthy fats and oils in your diet e.g. extra virgin olive oil.
  • Eat more plant-based foods
  • Choose fresh, unprocessed foods
  • Trim fat/skin off meat
  • Avoid using oils with a high saturated fat content e.g. coconut/palm oil

Reading your Food label

Controlling Salt intake through packaged food:

When buying food, you need to control the salt intake by checking the label on the food for salt contain. In Package food, salt can bear the following names: Sodium chloride • Monosodium glutamate (MSG) • Sea Salt, Rock Salt • Garlic Salt, Chicken Salt, Celery Salt, and Herb Salt • Baking Powder, Baking Soda. When buying packaged food, make sure that the product has less than 120 mg of salt per 100 g of food. Alternatively, make sure that the product is labeled: ‘low salt ‘or ‘no added salt’.

General stuff to check on packaged food.

Whenever buying packaged food, you must check the followings:

  • Expiring date
  •  Name of the Food
  • Ingredient list
  • Intolerance information
  • Direction for use and storage
  • Country of Origin
  • Food additives
  • Nutrition’s and health claims
  • Legibility requirements

The total fat in the food you choose should be 10g per 100g; for milk and yogurt, the total fat should be less than 2g per 100 saturated fat should be less than 3g per 100g; the sugar should be less than 15 g per 100g. Salt should be less than 120mg per 100g and more than 3g of fiber per 100g.

  1. C. Food Supplement for the heart.

Just like every other organ of the body, food supplements can be needed for the heart. Research shows that some of them may help lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and other things that put you at risk for heart disease. They are mostly needed when we do not have a balanced diet. The main heart recognized food supplements include:

  1. 1. Coenzyme Q10: a heart health powerhouse

This is an enzyme that helps the cell to convert compounds into energy and also facilitates blood pressure regulation. This enzyme, which can also be produced naturally by the body, functions as an antioxidant that prevents free radicals from harming the body through oxidation. A 2007 study of patients with heart failure also supports the role of CoQ10 in heart health. This food supplement can be found at Amazon.com at the cost of CDN$352.72

  1. 2. Astaxanthin

This is a powerful antioxidant for the heart. It is not only effective in preventing heart failure, but it also has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects. It helps maintain blood cholesterol in the normal range. A study is conducted to see whether it has some cognitive effect or if it can prevent skin aging. You can buy this food supplement at amazon as shown below:

  1. 3. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are also good for the heart. They help to maintain blood pressure and cholesterol at a normal level. They play an important role in regulating the cardiovascular system. Omega-3 fats good cholesterol, and studies have shown that they can support inflammation, blood pressure, and keep the heart beating steadily. They are naturally found in food such as fish, nuts, and seeds. algal oil is also a good and purer source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Other foods good for the heart include Green Tea, Garlic, etc.

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