The heart is an amazing organ, and you need to take amazing care of it. It beats an astounding 100,000 times a day, pumping life-giving blood. And this tireless worker is often taken for granted until it whispers—or shouts— in distress.
Heart diseases—the silent assassin—lead to 17.9 million deaths every year, and most of them are largely preventable through one simple yet profound tool—your diet.
So, hold onto your shopping carts, and let’s embark on a culinary adventure, unveiling the secrets of a healthy heart diet!
Understanding the heart, health, and diet connection
Age. Gender. Genetics. All of these factors contribute to heart disease. But none of them are under your control.
However, lifestyle choices—like what food you eat – are! It is a choice that can either prevent or contribute to your heart disease.
Research shows that up to 80% of cardiovascular disease cases can be prevented through lifestyle changes, primarily diet. It makes the right diet crucial for heart health.
"Supporting Your Heart Health with a Nutrient-Packed Diet"
The best heart diet is one that is low in salt and sugar and filled with healthy fats and fibre. Here’s how to stock up your kitchen with the right ingredients to promote cardiovascular wellness.
1. Fibre-rich foods
2. Fresh fruits and vegetables
A good way to include fibre for a healthy heart is to have fruits and vegetables throughout the day. Why? These are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that support overall heart fitness.
- Berries like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries
- Leafy greens like spinach, sarson (mustard), and methi (fenugreek)
- Citrus fruits like oranges and mosambi (sweet lime)
3. Heart-healthy fats
Fats are an essential part of a healthy heart diet plan. But not all of them are equal. For a healthy heart, stick to mono and polyunsaturated fats. Why? These fats are good for your heart and help control bad cholesterol levels.
- Olive oil, canola oil, or sesame oil
- Fish like salmon and sardines for omega-3
4. Nuts and seeds
Nuts are rich in unsaturated fats and fibre, both of which reduce bad cholesterol levels. So, in your heart-healthy shopping list, include:
- Chia seeds
5. Lean protein sources
Lean protein helps maintain muscle mass and reduces the risk of heart disease. So, fill your grocery cart with:
- Legumes (peas, lentils, and chickpeas)
- Skinless poultry
"What to Avoid in a Heart Disease Diet"
Sugar. Sodium. And saturated fats. These are the 3 evils that should stay far away from any diet for heart patients. Processed and packaged foods are filled with them, so when shopping for a healthy heart, read the ingredients and nutrition labels before buying.
1. Go low on salt
When your body has too much sodium, the water in your blood vessels increases. This increases your blood pressure, forcing your heart to work that much harder.
2. Say no to trans fats
Food diets for heart patients should be free of trans fat and have limited saturated fats (think baked or fried foods and meat). Why? Because trans fats reduce HDL (good) cholesterol and increase LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, they raise the risk of stroke and heart disease.
There are two kinds of trans fats: artificial and natural. Beware of the first, as they are created when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oils to solidify them. If you see “partially hydrogenated oils” in the ingredient list, that means the food item has trans fats. Some examples are cakes, cookies, biscuits, frozen pizza, and even doughnuts.
Preparing meals for a healthy heart
Choosing healthy ingredients is just step one of a good heart diet. Step two is preparing them in the most nutritious way possible:
- Don’t fry. Grill, broil, or bake.
- Switch to olive or any other healthy oil for cooking.
- Reduce salt. Flavour with other spices and herbs.
- Portion control.
Creating heart-healthy meals
Variety is the key to a healthy heart diet, so plan the meals accordingly. If you’re looking for a diet for heart attack patients or a diet for heart blockage, use the QurBook app. To get you started, here are two simple meal plans:
Non-veg meal plan for a day
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with banana, berries, and honey
- Lunch: Grilled salmon on a bed of mixed greens with avocado and a balsamic vinaigrette.
- Snack: A handful of mixed nuts.
- Dinner: Baked chicken breast with quinoa and steamed broccoli.
Veg meal plan for a day
- Breakfast: Greek yoghurt with berries and a drizzle of honey.
- Lunch: Stir-fried tofu with colourful bell peppers, snap peas, and brown rice.
- Snack: Sliced cucumber and carrot sticks with hummus.
- Dinner: Lentil soup with a side salad
Your heart, your health, your diet
The very sustenance you place on your plate can wield transformative power over your heart. The best part? A healthy heart diet doesn’t just prevent diseases; it promotes overall well-being.
So, begin with small changes, as they too can lead to big results.
Remember to use QurBook to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian to tailor your diet to your specific needs, especially if you have underlying health conditions!