Choose a cardiac diet for all round good health

November 12, 2012

Choose a cardiac diet for all round good health

Is cholesterol good or bad? How can you alter your diet to help your health?

Having a high cholesterol level is known to be a risk factor for a number of major health issues; this is particularly true of LDL cholesterol which builds up in the bloodstream causing narrowing of the arteries and increases the risks of heart disease, stroke, and vascular disease.

Cholesterol is a lipid found in most food products as well as in the body, it is insoluble in the blood and moved around the body by the lipoproteins LDL (‘bad’) and HDL (‘good’). Cholesterol is usually easily dealt with by the liver and poses no threat to health, however when high cholesterol levels begin to develop it is usually a result of the patients diet which needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency in order to avoid developing the serious health problems associated with this condition.

Eating for heart health will do you good

A cardiac diet is not something just for heart patients or those with high cholesterol levels. A cardiac diet is a healthy, well balanced eating plan which would be beneficial for everyone to follow. Choosing healthy food options will help to keep cholesterol levels low and improve overall health and quality of life.

High cholesterol is generally found in individuals who are over the age of forty, it may well be that their condition is a result of bad eating habits when young. Whilst it is often said that an old dog cannot be taught new tricks it is possible for anyone at any age to retrain their eating habits – it may be difficult and it may take time but it will certainly be worth it. Learning to put aside unhealthy food choices and follow a cardiac diet is a sensible choice for anyone to make – but especially for those who are a little older.

Weight loss will be an added bonus

A cardiac diet, whilst designed to promote heart health, will also promote healthy weight loss – that is weight loss that occurs gradually and steadily and is a natural result of improving diet. The main aim of a cardiac diet is to reduce the risk of cardiac disease or stroke by managing cholesterol levels through modifications of diet and increasing physical activity.

Whether you already suffer with cardiac disease, or you have a genetic pre-disposition to the condition or you just want to reduce the risk factors of developing the disease you should follow the recommendations of the cardiac diet. The recommendations of this eating plan are quite simple – make healthier choices and include a wide variety of foods from all the food groups. Making healthy choices is often a habit – learning new habits does take time but can be done. Choices you can make include -

  • Ignore processed baked goods and choose whole grain breads

  • Steam your fresh or frozen vegetables and enjoy their natural taste

  • Increase your intake of fresh fruit

  • Choose lean meat, poultry or fish, avoid processed meat products and fatty cuts

  • Choose low fat or soya dairy products

  • Make your own healthy, low fat soup and enjoy with a whole meal roll

  • Look for healthy heart recipes for baked goods which replace sugar and fat with heart friendly oils

  • Avoid using unhealthy fats in cooking – choose oils such as canola, olive or soybean

  • Cut down on your alcohol and caffeine intake

Exercise

Everyone should take part in regular exercise – even a short walk is better than nothing. Even those who already have a heart condition should be taking part in some physical activity. Ideally you should aim to exercise for thirty minutes at least five times a week.

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