There are many options for Healthy eating to support heart health. Here are our recommendations.
What is a healthy diet?
Healthy eating and regular exercise are essential to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Smoking is not an option.
There are many options for eating to support your heart health. It is important to eat foods that are similar to what they would be in nature. This means that you should eat lots of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains. Non-processed lean meats and poultry, as well as dairy, may be included.
You can ensure your body gets all the nutrients it needs by eating in a heart-healthy manner and in the right quantities.
Healthy Heart visual food guide is based upon a cardio-protective eating plan. It focuses on your overall health and heart health. It is a simple tool that you can use to show:
- The right balance and proportions for heart-healthy food to eat
- Similar foods can be substituted each other.
- The variety of foods you can eat to maintain your heart health is endless.
It is always nice to be able to recommend to people that they eat more of something. So here it goes: eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat lots! They are full of healthy stuff that will help you keep your heart healthy.
Low energy density is a key factor in managing body weight. Vegetables are especially good for this. Consuming lots of low-energy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can help you lose weight.
Michael Pollan, a well-known food writer, said it well: eat food but not too much, mostly plants. Consider fruit and vegetables an integral part of your meals. A tasty and portable snack, or sweet treat after a meal, is fruit.
It is easy to ensure you are getting enough vegetables. Include at least two handfuls of non-starchy veggies in your main meal. These vegetables are rich in nutrients, contain fewer calories, and can help you feel fuller.
Have a look at how you can get more fruits and vegetables into your daily diet. You might be able to:
- Add one more vegetable to your dinner
- Add a salad vegetable to your sandwich, e.g. tomato, lettuce and grated carrot.
- Add coleslaw to your take-out meal so you get your vegetables.
- Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast or lunch
Starchy and grain foods
New Zealand’s staple foods are grain foods and starchy veggies. Make sure you choose the right amount for your heart health.
These foods provide a good source of carbohydrates which is essential to the body’s energy supply. Because of their high carbohydrate levels, they also include starchy vegetables. These foods are good for heart health. Fiber improves the functioning of your bowels and raises cholesterol.
What foods are suitable?
- Grain foods: Oats and barley, brown rice; pasta, couscous, and bread. Whole grain varieties that retain their grain are best for heart health.
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes, Maori potatoes, and kumara.
What’s an “intact” whole grain?
Whole-grain foods are those that include the words “whole grain”, “oats”, “oat bran”, or “bran”, near the end of the ingredients list. Quinoa, buckwheat, and millet are all good options. Whole grains that still contain the grain are best. You can see the grains in their entirety, and not just what they have been ground or crushed.
Refined carbohydrate (e.g. Refined carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, white flour, and sugar, bakery items, low-fiber cereals) are different from whole grains. These grains have been processed extensively and are devoid of nutrients and natural fiber. They also consume a lot of energy quickly. They have no heart health benefits.
You can only choose one starchy food at a meal. ). This will help you get started.
- White bread to whole-grain bread
- White to brown rice
- A low-fiber breakfast cereal that can be used in place of whole oats
- Chips to a baked potato, or kumara
- Wholemeal to white flour
Vegetables, fish, seafood, eggs, and meat
These foods are good sources of protein that the body needs for growth and repair. It is also rich in iron, zinc, and B vitamins. A healthy heart can be supported by eating legumes, fish (especially oily), and seafood. Legumes
Legumes are a healthy, affordable, and underrated food. Legumes can be used in place of meat, or they can be added to a recipe to reduce the amount you have to eat. There are many types of legumes, also known as beans and dried peas. They come in many shapes and colors. There are many types of legumes available, including lentils and chickpeas as well as split peas, chickpeas and split peas. You can either soak them and cook them from dried or buy them pre-cooked in canned cans.
Although legumes aren’t a common ingredient in traditional Kiwi dishes, they are a popular choice for many other countries, including South America, the Caribbean, South America and Asia. You can either buy them in a canned form for ease of use or make your own for the best price. We recommend eating legumes four to five times per week for heart health.
Looking for ideas on how to incorporate legumes into your meal? Get our Full O’ Beans book and our recipe.
Seafood and fish
Fish is an excellent alternative to meat. Oily fish provides more Omega-3 oils, which are better for your heart. Mackerel and sardines are the oiliest fish. Canned fish can provide omega-3. Make sure to choose fish that has been preserved in springwater, not brine. We recommend that you eat fish two times a week, preferably oily fish, to care for your heart. See for sustainable choices.
Eggs are a healthy whole food that is low in calories and rich in protein. People at higher risk of developing heart disease may eat six eggs per week as part of a heart-healthy diet.
Red meat and poultry
Saturated fat can be high in animal foods. It is best for your heart to reduce saturated fat and replace it with unsaturated fats. When choosing meat and chicken, make sure to choose lean cuts of meat or eliminate the fat. This is the white fat in red meat and the skin in chicken. Be mindful of your portions.
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These are some ideas to help you get started:
- Reduce fat in meat and remove the skin from chicken
- Heat and drain the fat from canned corned meat
- You can add legumes to your dish, and you will use less meat.
- Instead of the deep-frying fish, steam, grill, or pan-fry it
- Sandwiches made with processed meats, such as salami or pastrami, can be substituted for ham, salami, and pastrami. Instead of ham, salami, and pastrami in sandwiches, try leftover chicken or schnitzel meats, tinned fish, or Mexican refried beans.
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