A heart-healthy diet can lower cholesterol levels, blood pressure, prevent diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight – what’s not to love? Here’s what’s included in this powerful diet.
The cholesterol charity Heart UK provided guidelines on how to follow a heart-healthy diet.
A heart-healthy diet
This type of diet is based on lots of vegetables and plant-based foods – what image comes to mind?
Include pulses, such as peas, beans and lentils, in that picture, and add fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
A varied protein source is favoured, which can include fish, chicken and lean red meat.
Here’s a bit of a warning, though: “If red meat is eaten, make sure it’s lean, and watch the quantity,” said Heart UK.
If you are a meat eater, then try to swap meaty meals with vegetarian alternatives.
A plants-based diet really can do wonders for your health, including lowering cholesterol levels.
When it comes to dairy products, opt for low-fat options (always) to avoid unsaturated fat that could increase cholesterol levels.
If choosing a dairy alternative, “go for unsweetened, calcium fortified varieties”.
Stay away from butter, lard, ghee, coconut and palm oil and use vegetable-based spreads and oils instead, advised Heart UK.
Choose wholemeal and whole grain options when it comes to bread, chapati, rice, pasta and cereals.
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“They contain lots of nutrients, help keep you feeling full so you don’t snack, and help with digestion,” said Heart UK.
Minimise high-sugar snacks
Biscuits, cakes, chocolates and fizzy drinks contain lots of calories, which can lead to weight gain.
In addition, these snacks don’t contain many nutrients (if any), and they won’t really fill you up.
Instead, opt for fruits and vegetables sticks with hummus, for example.
From there you can identify areas where you can make positive changes to your diet.
It can begin with small swaps, such as buying whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta.
As time goes on, you can begin to introduce more swaps, such as having a vegetarian meal twice a week.
If you’d like more support on a heart-healthy plan Heart UK can offer what you need. Click here to find out more.