What is a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Heart?
Having a healthy diet, in particular a low-fat and high-fiber diet, is beneficial in keeping the heart healthy. The important question is how do you personally have a heart healthy diet in place? Read on to find out what it takes to have a heart healthy diet.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Adding more fiber in your diet can bring down your cholesterol levels, lower your risk of diabetes and prevent some types of cancer. The recommended amount of fiber for an individual depends on his or her weight. But based on average, women can have 25 grams of fiber each day, while men can have more. The problem of the general population is that most Americans do not eat more fiber, even when it’s quite easy to get enough of it from a well-balanced diet.
People need to eat whole grain foods and a variety of fruits and vegetables to benefit from the action of both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber from oatmeal, dried beans, peas and barley can help get rid of cholesterol from the bloodstream. While the insoluble fiber from beets, sprouts, brussels and whole-grain bread can sweep the digestive tract and help make bowel movement regular.
Eat More Carbohydrates
Must have 50 to 60% of Calories from Carbohydrates
Fifty to sixty percent of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates. There are plenty of good sources of carbohydrates to choose from. Don’t forget to have fresh fruits and veggies, legumes and brown rice; whole grain pasta and bread. These carbohydrate-rich foods can provide you with plenty of nutrients, vitamins, fiber and calories to sustain you throughout the day.
Be careful though with the carbohydrates you eat because they may be served with products that are high in saturated fats, such as cream cheese, butter, sour cream, dips and spreads. Saturated fats aren’t healthy because they can increase the bad cholesterol or LDL in your bloodstream. So, watch out how much and what type of carbs you are eating.
Just the Right Amount of Carbs and Fats
Striking the balance between the carbs and fats is important. You don’t want too much of LDL cholesterol, but you also don’t want to replace all the fats with carbs. Doing so would decrease the amount of good cholesterol or HDL in your system, which is good for the heart.
Importance of Triglycerides in the Body
Everything we eat, including the fruits and vegetables, simple carbohydrates like cakes and cookies, protein and fats, are converted into triglycerides. The body cells use these triglycerides as fuel to power the different processes of the body. However, avoid having too much triglycerides because it isn’t good for the body. It can trigger heart disease.
Are Vitamins Good for the Heart?
Many people say that taking vitamins and supplements, like vitamin E, folate, B6 and B12, is great for the heart. But there is no evidence to support this idea. What is certainly good for the heart is providing it with all the essential nutrients through a well-balanced diet.
Photo credit: “Healthy Heart” by Mark Topper via Flickr, CC by-ND 2.0