Heart Health & Blood Pressure Nutrition
Nutritional intervention for heart health & blood pressure target 3 main areas- weight control, dietary fats & cholesterol, and salt intake. Measures of blood lipids will guide what dietary changes are needed.
It is common for clients to require modification in all 3 areas; therefore clients can expect to make a minimum of 2 or 3 consultations with the Dietitian. This will allow time to grasp the knowledge & skills for effective management of these conditions.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Australia – and signs of heart disease affect one in every six people. There are many ways you can be proactive to help maintain your heart health.
Eat healthy fats:
Some healthy fat is needed for the normal development of the body & brain and to supply important fat-soluble vitamins & nutrients.
Eat unsaturated & omega-3 fats such as those in avocados, olive oil, nuts & seeds. Reduce saturated fats & trans fats which are in fatty meats & processed foods such as pastries, cakes and pies.
Increase dietary fibre
There are many different ways to increase your dietary fibre without a restrictive diet. The main way is to swap out refined grains and cereals with wholegrains.
Boost intake of fruits & vegetables
Fruit and vegetables provide important antioxidants & phytochemicals which are protective of the heart. Fruit & vegetables are also a good source of dietary fibre.
Some of the fibre in fruit, vegetables, legumes (beans & peas) and grains is Soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is a particularly effective weapon against cholesterol and heart attacks.
Science supports fish as the best dietary source of omega-3 fats and higher fish intake is associated with lower rates of heart disease. Include oily fish more frequently in the weekly menu. Oily fish includes fish such as sardines, canned salmon & tuna.
Plant sterols are compounds naturally found in small amounts in plant foods.
They are similar in structure to cholesterol & block the absorption of cholesterol from the gut. There are a number of plant sterol-enriched foods available in the supermarket now. People with high cholesterol levels can add these foods to their diet each day.
Including soy food as part of your usual diet may help to lower cholesterol, improve blood pressure & keep blood vessels healthy.
What about butter? I love my butter!
Butter is saturated fat; from animal origin. Removing butter from the diet & replacing with an unsaturated spread will lower levels of ‘LDL’- low-density cholesterol (or ‘bad’ cholesterol’) in your blood.
What about salt? My doctor said I cannot have salt
High salt intake increases blood pressure and the increased blood pressure affects your heart health. The majority of excess salt is what is added at the table & what is in processed foods.
Other important factors to keep in mind to maintain your heart health: Be physically active, control your weight, reduce alcohol intake, and make the decision to stop smoking.
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