1. Control portion sizes. Eat more low-calorie and nutrient-rich foods for cardiovascular health such as fruits and vegetables, and less high-calorie, high-sodium foods such as refined, processed, or fast foods. The serving size is based on cups, ounces or pieces. Example: one serving of pasta is ½ cup, 1 serving of chicken, fish or meat is 2-3 ounces, etc.
2. Eat more fruits and vegetables. To take care of the heart with a healthy diet, 5-9 servings per day are recommended for its high content of vitamins and minerals, and its fiber content. It prefers fresh to frozen, canned vegetables low in sodium and canned fruit in water or juice. Avoid coconut, vegetables in creamy sauces, fried vegetables, canned fruit in thick syrup and frozen fruit with added sugar.
3. Select whole grains. Because of its high content of fiber and other nutrients that help regulate blood pressure and heart health. Replace refined grain products. You can add flaxseed to your food since it is high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which lowers cholesterol. Choose whole wheat flour, whole grain bread, high fiber cereal with 5 g or more fiber per serving, brown rice and barley, whole grain pasta, oatmeal and ground flaxseed. Avoid white refined flour, white bread, muffins, frozen waffles, cornbread, donuts, granola bars, biscuits, cakes, buttered popcorn and high-fat crackers.
4. Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol. It is important to reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of coronary artery disease. A high level of cholesterol can block the arteries (atherosclerosis) which increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Limit fat intake to 40-60 gr (less than 7% of total calories) per day. Eat lean cuts of meat, skinless chicken, low-fat or fat-free dairy products and limit fried foods. Limit saturated fats to a maximum of 10-15 gr per day. Eliminate Tran’s fats from the diet (less than 1% of total daily calories). Monounsaturated fatty acids (olive oil, canola, nuts) and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (fish, canola oil, flaxseed) should be the first choice of fats. Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (corn, sunflower and soybean oils, nuts) should be the second option.
Limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg daily. Among the fats to choose from are: olive oil, canola oil, margarine free of trans fats. Among the fats to avoid are: butter, butter, bacon fat, hydrogenated margarine, creams, coconut oil, palm and cotton.
5. Choose low-fat protein sources. Lean cuts of meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy and egg whites are the best sources of protein. Certain fish are rich in omega 3 that reduce triglycerides. Legumes are good sources of protein that contain less fat and zero cholesterol. Replace animal protein with vegetable protein like soy. Avoid whole milk and other dairy products, egg yolks, organs such as liver, fatty cuts of meat, sausages, bacon, fried meats.
6. Reduce the amount of sodium. Salt contributes to high blood pressure. A maximum intake of 2300 mg per day is recommended for healthy people.
“If you suffer from hypertension it should be less than 1500 mg per day”.
You must choose: herbs and spices, salt substitutes, reduced salt seasonings, canned soups or prepared meals reduced in salt. You should avoid: table salt, canned soups and prepared foods such as frozen foods, tomato juice and soy sauce.
7. Distribute the calories. Eating 6-8 small and balanced meals a day is better than 1-2 large meals, so that meals are not overloaded.
8. Key to the success of the diet is exercise. Exercise helps control weight, lower triglycerides and helps control cholesterol.
9. Balance your calorie intake and physical activity to have a healthy weight. Weight control, smoking cessation and regular exercise should accompany this healthy diet.
10. Eat fish, especially fatty fish (salmon, macarel, sardine), 2 times a week (about 8 oz a week).
11. Get at least 5-10% of the daily calories of omega 6 grams acids.
12. Avoid drinks and foods with added sugars. Among the sugars are sucrose, corn syrup, glucose, fructose, maltose, dextrose, etc.). It is recommended that women should not consume more than 2 teaspoons (100 calories) of added sugar daily. It is recommended that men consume no more than 9 teaspoons (150 calories) of added sugar daily.
13. Alcohol consumption. If you do, do it in moderation. No more than 2 daily drinks for men and 1 drink for women.
14. Prevent diseases. Maintaining good cardiovascular health is always important, but when there are diseases such as diabetes, special emphasis must be placed on health and nutrition for the heart and diabetes.