A well-balanced diet is one of your best weapons for maximum heart health. You can lower your risk of heart disease by eating healthy. But what does that mean? Here are some guidelines you can follow:-
Feed on Fabulous Fibre
Most Singaporeans eat much lesser fibre than they should. Fibre helps lower cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of diabetes (a risk factor for heart disease) and certain types of cancer. Include fibre in your diet by eating a variety of whole grains and a mixture of fruits and vegetables that have both soluble and insoluble fibre. Fibre may also help control inflammation. Besides, it can help you feel full easier, thus helping with weight-loss efforts.
Good sources of fibre include fruits, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and vegetables. Soluble fibre absorbs fluid like a sponge and turns to gel during digestion. Soluble fibre helps lower blood sugar and cholesterol. Soluble fibre is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fibre such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains helps to speed up the passage of foods through the stomach and intestines and adds bulk to the stools.
Feed on Lots of Antioxidants
Fruits and vegetables contain fiber but also are rich in anti oxidative nutrients which help protect your heart. Antioxidants are used by the body to fight cell damaging free radicals. Eat at least four servings of colorful vegetables to get the daily recommended amounts of vitamin A, C, K.
Emphasize healthy fats
To have a healthy heart, you don't have to eliminate all fats from your diet. A heart-healthy diet needs to be a low-fat diet not a zero-fat diet. A diet rich in monounsaturated fats can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and other risk factors. The types of fats found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados and fish can help lower LDL while boosting HDL. However, do limit your intake of saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol.
Spare the Sodium
We only require a small amount of sodium in order to maintain our health. The recommended sodium intake is 2000mg per day which is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of salt. A diet high in sodium can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Try using dried herbs, vinegars, and citrus to add flavor to dishes and choose fresh food over processed food.