What is a heart healthy diet? This diet is an eating plan for you and your family and serves to help keep your blood cholesterol low and to prevent heart diseases. Children under the age of 2 should not follow this heart healthy diet as they are still too young and need more fats at this stage to provide enough calories for growth and development.
Your diet for a healthy heart should comprises the following:
- Saturated Fats: 8-10% of your total calories in a day
- Trans Fats: Less than 1% of your total calories in a day
Dietary Cholesterol: Not more than 300 milligrams a day, 200 milligrams
if you have high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
- Sodium: Not more than 2400 milligrams a day
- Calories: Sufficient to maintain a healthy body weight and also reduce your blood cholesterol level
Ask your doctor or dietitian what should be the appropriate calorie level for you.
Fats & Cholesterol
A high blood cholesterol level is a high risk factor that can potentially lead to heart attack and stroke.
This is due to a buildup of plaque in your arteries.
By reducing saturated fats and trans fats intake, you can reduce your LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and reduce the risk of developing coronary artery disease.
In fact, trans fats are not required by our body and has no known benefits to our health. In general, trans fats from
hydrogenated oils are considered to be more harmful than those forming naturally.
Proteins are the main building block of our muscles, organs and glands. Children need protein for growth and development.
But do you know that to synthesis protein, our body needs approximately 20 amino acids. Protein that supplies
enough essential amino acids are called complete protein. All meat and animal products are sources of complete proteins.
But before choosing your meat, you must also consider the unhealthy fats in them. Therefore, it is imperative that
you look for low-fat options in your protein sources.
Whole grains are cereal grains which do not have their bran, germ and endosperm removed.
Refined grains only retain the endosperm. So why is whole grains healthier than refined ones?
They are a great source of nutrients, which includes fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
A little more on the carbohydrates, whole grains gives low glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates. This means that such carbohydrates do not increase much of your blood sugar (glucose),
which is important as this increase can cause obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Eating whole grains can regulate your heart health and blood pressure, and its easy to start doing so now.