What is a heart-healthy diet?
The heart-healthy diet is:
- Omega-3 is high in fat and is found in many fishes, especially salmon
- High fiber
- Rich in fruits and green, red and orange vegetables
- Low in saturated fat and trans fat
- Low sodium content
- Low sugar
- Low cholesterol
- Low or no alcohol
- Calorie balance to support a healthy weight
What is the difference between healthy fat and unhealthy fat?
Saturated fats and trans fats are especially harmful to your heart and arteries. A heart-healthy diet contains low levels of these harmful fats, but contains moderate amounts of healthy fats. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fats, are good for the heart.
As far as your weight is concerned, all fats are equally high in calories. When it comes to your heart, some fats are bad and some are good.
Why is saturated fat so bad for me?
Saturated fats are unhealthy, mainly because they increase blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called "bad" cholesterol. Daily calories from saturated fat should not exceed 7%. For a person who consumes 2,000 calories a day, this is 16 grams of saturated fat, which is equivalent to less than 3 ounces of cheese.
To reduce the intake of saturated fat, reduce the intake of meat, cheese, butter and cream. Switch to more plant-based fats. For example, add guacamole instead of cheese to tacos. Spread peanut butter—especially natural peanut butter—on toast instead of butter. Use a teaspoon of oil instead of a piece of butter to saute the vegetables.
Why are trans fats so harmful to me?
Trans fats are usually found in fried foods or foods made from partially hydrogenated oils and are particularly harmful because they increase LDL cholesterol and lower the "good cholesterol", known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL). There is no recommended trans fat content because any amount can be harmful.
Fortunately, nutrition labels on packaged foods are now required to list trans fat content. Read labels and avoid foods containing trans fats.
Saturated, partially hydrogenated and trans fats
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Solid at room temperature
Room temperature liquid
Animal fat (saturated fat)
meat, cream, butter, lard, cheese, chicken skin
oil olive, safflower, rapeseed oil, sunflower, soybean, peanut oil
coconut oil and palm oil
Nuts and avocado
Partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat),
margarine, shortening, fast food, processed food
salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, anchovies, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil
How much healthy fat should I have in my diet?
Studies have shown that as long as the fat is mainly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, a heart-healthy diet can provide up to 35% of calories from fat. For a 2,000 calorie diet, up to 78 grams of fat.
Unsaturated fats are mainly derived from plant sources, as shown in the table above. One exception is the increasingly famous omega-3 fat, which is highest in oily fish such as salmon.
Omega-3 fats in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are being studied to understand exactly how it is beneficial to health. So far, the evidence that omega-3 fats can lower blood pressure and lower blood triglyceride levels is the best. At the UCSF Cardiovascular Care and Prevention Center , we recommend eating fish regularly—at least twice a week.
For people who do not eat fish, supplementation with fish oil may be appropriate. For most people, a combination of up to 3 grams of EPA and DHA per day may be safe, but, as with all supplements, be sure to consult your doctor before you start taking it.
- Eat fatty fish at least twice a week. If you don't eat fish, consider adding fish oil supplements, which can provide up to 3 grams of a combination of EPA and DHA per day. First consult your doctor and investigate the quality of the supplements you plan to take.
- You should also include walnuts and ground flaxseed in your diet as much as possible. They are good vegetarian sources of omega-3 fats.
Remember that all fats are high in calories, so if your goal is to lose weight, don’t be “wild” even with healthy foods such as salmon and walnuts. For most people, a little oil on the salad, some nuts on the oatmeal, or a spoonful of diced avocado on a small piece of fatty fish is enough.
In addition to the above dietary fat guidelines, we also recommend that you limit your cholesterol intake. Cholesterol is most concentrated in meat, egg yolks, offal, shrimp and squid, but it is found in all animal products. A reasonable portion of lean meat is the same size as the palm of your hand. If you are at high risk of heart attack or stroke, limit these cholesterol-rich foods to once a week.
How much sodium or salt should be in my diet?
Reducing sodium intake is one of the best things you can do for your heart. The average American consumes about 4,000 milligrams of sodium per day. This is twice the recommended amount.
People's sensitivity to sodium varies, but in general, reducing sodium intake can help people with high blood pressure by significantly lowering their blood pressure. It can also prevent or delay the development of high blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure as they age.
The goal is to consume no more than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. Some people, including African Americans, middle-aged and elderly people, and people with high blood pressure, should consume less than 1,500 milligrams per day. This is equivalent to only 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of table salt.
How to reduce the sodium content in the diet?
- Avoid salt shakers and savoury condiments such as sauces, pickles, relish, capers and olives.
- Beware of the culprit of sodium-packaged foods and processed foods. Eat foods labeled "low sodium," "low sodium," or "low sodium." When possible, choose foods that provide 5% or less of daily sodium per serving.
- Canned soups, processed meats (frankfurter sausages, sausages, pepperoni, deli turkey or ham), biscuits, French fries, pretzels, frozen foods and canned tomato juice are particularly high in sodium. Avoid these foods and choose fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat and skimmed milk and yogurt.
- Restaurant foods are usually high in sodium. Eat less out, cook more at home, season with fresh or dried herbs, garlic, ginger, citrus juice, salt substitute (potassium chloride), pepper or vinegar instead of salt. If you must add salt, add salt after the food is cooked, not during the cooking process to maximize the impact on taste buds.
Why is sugar bad for my heart?
Sugar is a general term used to describe simple carbohydrates (monosaccharides and disaccharides) that are naturally occurring or added to food during processing or on the table. Complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides) are often called starches, and they are broken down into sugars in the body during digestion.
The common table sugar-white granulated sugar-is sucrose. It consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose (the sugar in fruits).
There are several reasons why sugar poses a threat to heart health. First, sugar raises blood sugar and stimulates insulin production. This is normal human metabolism is not a problem, but for people with pre-diabetes, diabetes, or on behalf of human metabolic syndrome is a hassle. Second, high-sugar foods are usually high in calories, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Third, a diet high in monosaccharides will increase blood triglyceride levels.
Are the natural sugars in fruits healthy?
A heart-healthy diet does include some carbohydrates and even small amounts of sugar-in the right form and in limited quantities.
Naturally occurring sugars are healthier than added sugars. Heart-healthy diets include fruits, vegetables, cereals, yogurt and some milk-all of which contain natural sugars. Since these foods provide important vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, they are the body's main source of fuel, so they should be part of the daily diet.
However, added sugar is present in many processed foods we eat. The largest source of added sugar for Americans is soft drinks, but fruit drinks, sweetened coffee drinks, cakes, candies, jams and jellies, syrups and many instant grains are also high in added sugar. Read the label. These foods are usually low in nutrients and should be included in a heart-healthy diet in very limited amounts or avoided.
Bottom line: cut down on sweets. Avoid sugary drinks. Include moderate amounts of healthy carbohydrates-from fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, as well as low-fat or skimmed milk and yogurt-all day, not all at once. Talk to a nutritionist to help determine how many carbohydrates are best for you.
What effect does alcohol have on my heart?
Excessive drinking is bad for the heart. Excessive drinking can increase blood fat (triglycerides), increase blood pressure and increase extra calories, leading to weight gain.
Moderate drinking seems to have some beneficial effects on the heart. The possible antioxidant effects of red wine have been widely publicized, but its potential beneficial substances can be obtained from other foods, such as grapes or red grape juice.
Alcohol may have an anticoagulant effect on the blood, reduce thrombosis and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Aspirin may help reduce blood clotting in a similar way. The most famous beneficial effect of alcohol is to increase high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol. However, regular physical activity and weight loss are other effective ways to increase HDL cholesterol.
Although the study of the underlying mechanism of alcohol on cardiovascular risk requires further research, we do not recommend adding alcohol to the diet to realize these potential benefits. If you already drink alcohol and there is no reason to avoid it, such as alcoholism or a family history of alcoholism, limit it to one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men. One serving is 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80% spirits, or one ounce of 100% spirits.
How much fiber should I have in my diet?
A high-fiber diet is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. In addition to its role in heart health, a high-fiber diet seems to reduce the risk of diabetes, diverticulosis, constipation, and colon cancer. Fiber also slows down digestion, which means that high-fiber foods can make you feel fuller and longer-this may help you reduce calorie intake and control weight.
Dietary fiber is a substance derived from plant cells and cannot be broken down by enzymes in the human digestive tract. There are two important fiber types: water-soluble and water-insoluble. Each has different attributes and characteristics. Both of these fibers help maintain good digestion and provide a feeling of fullness, helping to prevent overeating and weight gain.
Soluble fiber can especially reduce blood cholesterol. Fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans, lentils, peas), barley, oats and oat bran are good sources of soluble fiber.
The total dietary fiber intake from food should be at least 25 to 30 grams per day, not supplements. At present, the average daily intake of dietary fiber in American adults is about 15 grams. This is about half of the recommended amount.
How to increase the fiber content in the diet?
fruits and vegetables
- Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. The fiber content of fresh fruit is slightly higher than that of canned food. Eat the peel as much as possible-this is easier than peeling or eating around.
- Fresh fruit for dessert.
- Eat whole fruit instead of drinking juice. The juice does not contain fiber.
- Before baking, add chopped dried fruit to biscuits, muffins, pancakes or bread. The fiber content of dried fruits is higher than that of fresh fruits. For example, a cup of grapes contains 1 gram of fiber, and a cup of raisins contains 7 grams of fiber. However, a cup of raisins or any other dried fruit contains more calories than fresh fruit.
- Add banana chips, peaches or other fruits to your cereal.
- Grate carrots on the salad.
- Save the prepared carrots and celery sticks, cucumber balls and other fresh vegetables for quick, high-fiber snacks.
- Choose a side dish salad instead of French fries for lunch.
- Consider alternatives to dining out. Choose healthier restaurants, such as vegetable side dishes, whole wheat bread, fruits and salads. Fast food should not mean high-fat and low-fiber foods.
- Try recipes that use more vegetables and fruits.
Legumes and legumes
- Add kidney beans, chickpeas, or other legumes to your salad. Each half-cup serving is about 7 to 8 grams of fiber.
- Substitute beans for meat in chili and soup 2 to 3 times a week.
- Try international dishes that use whole grains and beans as part of the main meal or salad, such as Indian or Middle Eastern food.
- Have a can of oat bran or wheat germ on hand. Sprinkle on salads, soups, breakfast cereals, and yogurt.
- Use whole wheat flour whenever possible when cooking and baking.
- Choose whole wheat bread. Look at each slice of bread with the highest fiber content on the label.
- Choose cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
- Save graham crackers as a simple snack.
- Use brown rice instead of white rice for cooking. If it is difficult to switch, please mix them together first