Friendly Diet - Eating For a Healthy Heart

By: Gen Wright

Statistics show that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of deaths among the American populace.
Coronary heart disease is characterised by fatty deposits lining the inside walls of the coronary artery and gradually impedes the flow of blood to the heart and thereby increasing the possibility of a heart attack or a stroke. Doctors and nutritionists campaign for a regimen of controlled diet and regular exercise to combat the onset of coronary heart conditions.

Nutritionists suggest a heart-friendly diet that contains moderate amounts of complex carbohydrates, small amounts of cholesterol, small amounts of sugar, and little or no sodium. It is recommended that the ratio of fats to complex carbohydrates be shifted to at least 50% of total calories coming from grains and starchy vegetables. These include brown rice, cereals, potatoes, carrots, corn etc. The ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats should also be tipped in favor of unsaturated fats. Decrease the amount of fat in your diet by trimming all visible fat when preparing meat. Do not add any more fat in the cooking process. Stay away from restaurant-bought food - especially those from fast foods, which are often laden with hidden fat and sodium.

A diet low in cholesterol is also recommended. That means avoiding whole milk (sadly, this includes ice cream), cheese and butter. By reducing the amount of cholesterol in the diet, the amount of cholesterol in the system is also reduced and the likeliness of developing coronary heart disease is lessened. Those diagnosed with gallbladder disorders are also advised to go on a diet that is low in cholesterol.

Simple sugars should also be reduced. Excess sugar in the system are not metabolised and are converted into fat stores for the body’s energy needs. These fat stores will remain in the body without the right amount of physical exertion to burn it. There are foods that already contain sugar. These naturally occurring sugars are often taken for granted. Excessive sugar added to food and beverages and in sugar-rich food like cakes and pastries may also end up as fat stores.

The amount of sodium should also be controlled in a heart-friendly diet. This could be done by avoiding table salt, chips, snack foods. Fast food offerings are often high in sodium – that is why that double cheeseburger tastes so good. Condiments may also contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. Stick to the natural flavors of food. Use stocks and aromatics like celery, carrots and herbs to flavor your food.

A basic rule in a heart-friendly diet is to eat more vegetables and fruit. These contain no sodium at all and no cholesterol. Eating meat should be limited to about 6 ounces per day. A diet of fish and lean chicken is recommended. Avoid all processed food, they may contain additives and preservatives that do very little for your body.

Wiping out the chances of developing coronary heart disease is almost an impossibility. But taking preventive measures like going on a heart-friendly diet and living a healthy lifestyle can almost certainly delay its onset.

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