The cardiac diet is frequently prescribed for those who are at imminent risk of getting a heart attack. Such people are those who often have existing health conditions, like high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, hpyerlipidemia, obesity and have already had a heart attack.
The cardiac diet is a healthy, balanced diet plan which anyone can follow. It is a preventative dietary plan programme as well as a healthy treatment plan for your heart.
When the cardiac diet is advised as part of a treatment plan, it is usually tailored to that patient by a dietician. The plan adheres to basic principles which promote good cardiac health.
- Lowering animal fat intake in foods
- Eating trans fat free margarince as opposed to butter
- Consume more fruits and vegetables
- Decrease your sodium intake
- If you are not vegan or vegetarian add fish to your diet
- Avoid caffeine
- Consume foods which contain plant stanols
Lowering Animal Fat Intake
A key part of the cardiac diet is reducing the intake of harmful fats. Eliminating all fat is unhealthy. However, it is important to understand which foods contain healthy fat and which contain fat harmful for the arteries.
- Polyunsaturated fats: These fats are healthy and ought to be included in your diet. Foods high in these fats are grain products and fish
- Monounsaturated fats: These fats reduce artery clogging cholesterol levels. They are to be found in avocados, nuts and olive oil
- Saturated fats: These kinds of fats are found in cheese, meat, cheese, palm kernel oil and coconut oil
- Trans fat: Such fats are chemically made and used to hydrogenate oils. This enables foods to last longer in terms of their shelf life, however, they are not processed easily in the body. Processed foods and fried foods from takeaways contain significant volumes of these fats
Ensure you read food labels in terms of what fat is contained in the foods you eat and read food labels for the type of fat contained in a product and leave out those that have harmful fats.
Eat More Fibre
Eating more fibre provides lots of health benefits. Intake of high fibre as part of the cardiac diet reduces levels of bad cholesterol in the body, increasing the health of the heart, as well as lowering the risk of heart attacks. More fibre also helps digestion and lowers the incidence of constipation.
Women aged less than 50 ought to eat 25g of fibre each day, whilst those 50 ought to eat 21g of fibre on a daily basis. Men aged less than 50 ought to eat 38g of fibre a day and men over 50 ought to consume 30g of fibre on a daily basis.
Fibre is to be found in lots of foods:
- Whole grains
- Fruit and vegetables
- Seeds and nuts
Healthy Eating Habits
Apart from a healthy eating cardiac diet plan, there are extra things that you can do to maintain a healthy heart.
- You can enhance the effectiveness of this diet’s basic principles by not adding additional salt to foods, cooking with healthier oils like olive oil, and controling your portions to lower caloric intake for weight loss and weight management.
- It is important to get enough exercise to maintain strong heart muscles and to reduce your body’s cholesterol levels. 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week is normally adequate for a healthy heart
- It is important to avoid stress and build coping skills which help you relax when you cannot avoid stress. Being tense is not healthy for your heart. Relaxation is crucial for maintaining good cardiac health
Talk to Your GP
Should you have any concerns about your cardiac health, refer to your GP prior to commencing a diet and exercise regime. A GP can assist you by providing insight as to your overall health and fitness levels and best guide you in your approach with regard to your specific situation.