Health News Micron & Associates Blog: Health tips - Have a hearty meal

Heart disease is a simple term for a complex of problems that affect the heart and its ability to pump blood efficiently. Often the problem involves the network of arteries and veins that provide the heart with their own blood supply. However, there are a number of things that you can do to help prevent problems from arising.

It’s only natural that most see fat as the enemy. It’s the temptation we feel guilty about eating, the indulgence with which we reward ourselves, even though we know we shouldn’t and it is the first thing we think of cutting from our diet in order to achieve a healthy heart.

On our journey to good health, we tend to take some impulsive decisions of including and excluding some foods from our diets.

But there are better choices and worse ones and shifting the balance to include more of the right kind — meaning, in addition to fruits and vegetables, grains, that are as intact as possible — is one of the most important foundations of healthful eating.

The Mediterranean way

The Mediterranean diet consisting of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts and olive oil in balanced amounts is considered as a heart-healthy diet as it emphasises healthy essential fats and healthy complex carbohydrates that improve your metabolic state as compared to an emphasis on overall reduction of fat in the diet.

The key components

Whole grains

Instead of simply cutting carbohydrates, shift from more refined carbohydrates (such as white bread) and quickly digested starches (such as potatoes and white rice) to whole grains, high fibre foods (like whole wheat bread and brown rice), beans and other legumes. They will give you longer lasting energy and lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Vegetables and fruits

If you don’t eat them, try to eat five to nine servings of vegetables and fruits a day. For the most part, they are low calorie foods that you can enjoy in generous quantities and they are among the most effective and important foods for health-building and disease prevention.

Nuts

A great source of protein and further nutritional goodness. Along with being a healthy source of proteins, nuts do contain large amount of fat but it is mostly unsaturated fat which reduce LDL cholesterol and keeps HDL cholesterol high. Time and again studies have proven that eating nuts (5-6 almonds and 3 pieces of walnuts) on most days of the week can greatly reduce the risk of heart related diseases. Just remember to eat them as a replacement for junk food or less healthy snacks, not in addition to these foods.

Good fats

Don’t indiscriminately cut fat. Eat less saturated fat and avoid trans-fat but do eat plenty of unsaturated fats. They can improve levels of cholesterol and other fat particles in the blood, strengthen the heart against dangerous erratic heartbeats and fight the gradual clogging of the arteries.

Eat less saturated fat — Whole fat dairy products, including whole milk, cream, butter, cheese, full-fat yoghurt, ice cream, meat, coconut, coconut milk.

Eat more monounsaturated fat — Olives, olive oil, canola oils, almonds, avocados.

Eat more polyunstaurated fat — Vegetable oils, including corn, soybean, sunflower, legumes, including soybeans and soy products, fatty fish, like tuna and salmon.

Avoid trans fats — Margarines not labelled as trans-fat free, vegetable shortening, deep fried food stuff, most fast foods, most commercial baked goods.

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