Heart disease is one of the leading causes of sudden death. Regardless of your heart’s current status, you should eat healthy to avoid getting heart disease in the future.
For a heart healthy diet, you should follow these guidelines:
- eat 8 to 10 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat
- eat 30 percent (or less) from the day’s total calories from fat
- take less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day
- limit the intake of sodium to 2400 milligrams a day
- eat just enough calories to maintain a healthy weight
The American Heart Association advises to cut down on the use of solid fats (butter, margarine) that you add to food when you are cooking. Please avoid butter, lard, bacon, gravy, cream sauce, margarine, cocoa butter It is better to choose olive oil, canola oil, margarine labeled ‘trans fat free’, and cholesterol-lowering margarine such as Benecol.
They also advise to go for lean meat and low-fat dairy products.
It is better to avoid full-fat milk and other dairy products, organ meats (for instance liver), egg yolks, fatty and marbled meat, spareribs, cold cuts, Frankfurters, hot dogs, sausages, bacon, and fried (or canned) meats.
Instead of these, have skim or low-fat milk, fat free dairy products (yoghurt, cheese), egg whites or egg substitutes, fish (especially fatty, cold water fish like salmon), skinless poultry, vegetables, soybeans and other soy products (like soy burgers), and lean ground meats.
In general, people should eat more vegetables and fruits. They are a good source of vitamins and minerals. When you have a diet high in soluble fibers (which are found in fruit and veggies) you can lower your cholesterol levels and so reduce the risk of a heart disease.
Here it is better to avoid coconuts, vegetables with creamy sauces, fried or breaded vegetables, canned fruit packed in heavy syrup. Instead use fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits, low-sodium canned vegetables, and canned fruit packed in juice or water.
To make it even more easy, here’s a list of things that you can definitely eat:
- Fruits (fresh, canned or frozen)
- Vegetables (fresh or frozen)
- Meat/poultry/fish: all kinds of fresh and frozen fish, canned tuna and salmon (if they are unsalted or rinsed), chicken and turkey without the skin, lean cuts of beef, veal, pork or lamb (trim away all the fat)
- Meat substitutes: tofu, dried beans or lentils, nuts or seeds (unsalted, unroasted), unsalted peanut butter
- Drinks: fruit juices, breakfast drinks (limited to one cup a day), lemonade (frozen or fresh), tea and coffee in moderation, soy milk
- Dairy: cottage cheese, low-fat cheeses (ricotta, mozzarella)
- Fats/oils: unsaturated vegetable oils like canola, olive, corn, cottonseed, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower
- Bread/cereals/grains/starches: pasta, rice (best is brown), corn, potatoes, green peas, loaf bread and yeast rolls, melba toast, pita bread, corn tortilla, cooked cereals (oatmeal, oat bran, corn grits), puffed rice, wheat germs (only in small amounts), unsalted popcorn
- Sweets: flavored gelatins, fruits, frozen juice bars