A Healthy Heart is Essential for Life
Coronary Heart Diseases
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD also called ischemic heart disease is one fo the world’s deadliest diseases. It occurs when the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked. Narrowing or blockage of the blood vessels, usually an atery, is mainly caused by the bild-up of fatty deposits, a condition known as atherosclerosis. The arteries which are usually very elastic become harder when plaque builds up on the inner walls. This results in restricted bloodflow to your heart which can lead to a heart attack or other cardiac event resulting in death.
A heart healthy diet can help prevent heart diseases BUT is no subsitute for visiting your doctor. Always consult your doctor before starting any diet regimen or lifestyle changes.
Foods to Eat
- Vegetables and Fruits
- Whole grains such as plain oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-grain bread or tortillas
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy foods such as milk, cheese, or yogurt OR avoid dairy and choose plant based alternatives
- Protein-rich foods:
- Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and trout, about 8 ounces a week
- Lean meats preferably 95% lean. Limit the number of days per week you eat meats.
- Poultry without the skin and preferably organic, hormone free
- Eggs whites – avoid yolks
- Nuts, seeds, and soy products
- Peas and beans such as kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, black-eyed peas
- Oils and foods containing high levels of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that can help lower blood cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease. Canola, Corn, Soybean and Olive Oil are among the most common oils allowed on a heart healthy diet.
Foods to Avoid
- Always use fresh or frozen foods with no salt added. Avoid processed, canned, pre-seasoned, microwavabl or packaged foods
- Eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day
- Cook at home where you can control the sodium and fat in your meals
- Use herbs and spices to season foods instead of salt.
Saturated and trans fats
- Know and limit foods that naturally contain saturated fats to less than 10% of your daily calories.
- Avoid trans fats. These are commonly found in fast foods, take-out foods, foods made with partially hydrogenated oils such as desserts, microwave popcorn, magarines and even coffee creamer. Some trans fats naturally occur in very small amounts in dairy products and meats. Foods containing these very low levels of natural trans fats do not need to be eliminated from your diet because they have other important nutrients.
- Look for hidden fats which occur in many items. Read food labels.
- Avoid Saturated fats. These are found in fatty cuts of meat, poultry with skin, whole-milk dairy foods, butter, lard, and coconut and palm oils.
- Limit sugar that is not natural sugars. Added sugars include brown sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, raw sugar, and sucrose.
- Eliminate sodas, energy drinks, sweetened beverages and flavored water from your diet altogether. In addition to sugar they contain unhealthy dyes and other ingreadients.
- Choose fresh fruit and not cakes, pies etc for snacks
- Limit alcohol intake. For men, no more than two per day and or women no more than one per day.
- Alcohol raises your blood pressure, adds calories and triglyceride fats to your blood.
- Contributes to heart failure in some people with cardiomyopathy.
A heart healthy diet and lifestyle changes can control the risks factors. Exercise can lower your blood pressure, reduce stress and control weight, all of which are essential to keeping your heart healthy. Remember to read labels! Be mindful of salt, cholesterol and fat intake. BAF CARES!
CLICK HERE to visit Cayman Heart Fund for more information on Heart Health and to get involved.