Healthy eating for the heart

Tuesday October 13, 2020
Healthy eating for the heart

. Healthy eating for the heart comes back to balance, moderation and portion control

. Fruit and vegetables should be keenly incorporated into your diet

. Limit salt, fats and sugar

Balance is the key to developing a diet that doesn’t put your health in long-term jeopardy. Try and adhere to the basic principles of balance, moderation and portion control. Now let’s move to the specifics. The first point we will address is portion control. Eat what you have to eat and and resist the temptation to splurge because that moves everything out of sync. By doing this you can start to control your weight and sugar level which is important to your long term health.

The most dangerous scenarios are high blood pressure, diabetes and potentially heart disease. By exercising disciplined portion control you can limit your exposure to these harmful ailments. High blood pressure is caused through stress, smoking and a lack of physical activity but can also be caused by your diet. There is a strong correlation between excessive salt as well as certain fats and sugar. By cutting these items out, or at least limiting them, you can minimise the risk of high blood pressure. In regards to diabetes, you also have to be careful with your sugar intake, especially in regards to soft drinks.

What to put on your plate if you want a healthy heart

The next point to consider is what to actually put on your plate. Try and make a concerted effort to limit your consumption of fats, oils, sugar and salt. Look to incorporate a healthy serving of fruit and vegetables, grain and certain fish such as tuna and salmon. In terms of energy, two key sources are protein and wholegrain. You can source protein from lean meat and eggs as well as fish and poultry and wholegrain that is high in fibre such as oatmeal, brown rice and bran are also a valuable source of energy.

It’s good to incorporate these types of food items because they help to keep your weight in check while still giving you ample energy and that’s a good combination to have. The other food group that you really have to be diligent about perusing is obviously fruit and vegetables. This should be a staple and is almost mandatory for your long-term health.

According to the AIHW, between 2007/8 and 2017/8 approximately 50 per cent of Australians did not meet the fruit recommendations and almost 95 per cent did not meet the guidelines associated with vegetable intake. 7.3 per cent of the total burden of disease in Australia was attributed to poor diet and 1.4 per cent was attributed to a diet low in fruit, so it stands to reason that we all need to be vigilant about our food choices.

Australian dietary guidelines

According to the Australian dietary guidelines, one should make a concerted effort to source items from the five key food groups. The recommendation is that we seek a wide variety of food to achieve a balanced diet, not always in one day but certainly over the course of a week. As stated in the guidelines: ‘No single food can provide all the nutrients in the amounts needed for good health’. You have to expand your boundaries and actively source those nutrients.

The evidence for consuming a wide variety of foods as summarised in the guidelines suggests that a ‘higher quality diet is associated with reduced morbidity’ and that ‘diversity in food intake can reduce an individual’s exposure to any one group of toxicants.’ But it also goes on to say that Australians as a general rule eat from a wide variety of cuisines which should supply the ‘nutritional needs of the population but appropriate choices must be made to ensure that all nutritional requirements are met.’


AIHW stats

Australian dietary guidelines pages 32-33



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