Foods you should or should not consume for a healthy heart

ByZarafshan Shiraz, Delhi
Oct 19, 2022 01:29 PM IST

Rather than classifying foods into good foods and bad foods, it is the balance that really matters. Doctors reveal the general rule of diet to prevent cardiac disease and list foods that you should consume and foods you should avoid for a healthy heart

Diet plays a crucial role in cardiovascular health, affecting everything from blood pressure to your likelihood of developing a heart disease. While certain eating patterns are solid choices for slipping into a smaller pair of jeans or gaining muscle mass, other diets are better suited for giving your heart health a boost.

Foods you should or should not consume for a healthy heart(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay )
Foods you should or should not consume for a healthy heart(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay )

Rather than classifying foods into good foods and bad foods, it is the balance that really matters. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Abhijit Kulkarni, Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Apollo Hospitals in Bengaluru, suggested, “Having an optimal balance with home cooked and whole grain food is recommended. Food which contains a lot of hydrogenated oil like deep fried, re-fried, packaged and not very fresh food, is toxic to the system. Repeated and continuous consumption of these things will change the system in favour of heart diseases.”

He added, “Basically what we recommend is a good balanced diet which includes all the nutrients. One needs to keep a watch on their cholesterol profile and first try to understand that if triglycerides are very high, then it means that carbohydrate and junk food consumption is high. If your LDL is high then your general meat intake is high. So, these items have to be curtailed.”

Dr Binayak Chanda, MRCS and FRCS (Glasgow), Consultant - CTVS at AMRI Hospitals in Kolkata's Saltlake, highlighted, “An unhealthy diet with excess of fried and fatty food, obesity, undetected diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking along with unavoidable stress of a demanding urban lifestyle, all contribute to this problem. There is a lot of misinformation about what foods are or aren’t heart-healthy, so it may surprise you to learn that you don’t need exotic fruits, imported nuts, or even pricey supplements to take care of your health.”

He recommended, “Minimum of 5 servings per day, but vegetables and fruits of all kinds and colours should take centre stage in a heart-healthy diet. As they are rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that promote a healthy heart and body. Additionally, they are filling items and low in calories, thus promoting weight management. Fresh, frozen, dried, canned (without sugar syrups or added salt), raw, cooked and all other fruits and vegetables are good for you until you are not diagnosed with diabetes or hypertension.”

Asserting that the fruit filling in a breakfast pastry is mostly sugary and not a real serving of fruit, he revealed, “While small amounts of 100 per cent fruit juice can fit into a healthy diet, they are also concentrated sources of sugar (naturally occurring) and their calories are moderately high when compared to whole fruits. Not all fats are bad for you. In fact, certain types of fats, such as monounsaturated fat and Omega-3s, actually promote heart health. Once you’ve got your fat intake in line, focus on making choices to meet your daily recommendations. Fats found in olives, soybeans, nuts, canola oils and seafood are good for the heart.”

According to Dr Abhijit Kulkarni, the general rule of diet to prevent cardiac disease is:

• Maintain a healthy/optimal weight. To achieve this, one might have to make dietary changes.

• In terms of food, a good balance of carbohydrate, protein and fat is generally recommended.

• Avoid junk food and fast food like lot pizzas, burgers, as these foods contain a lot of unhealthy fats.

• Curtail the consumption of red meat like mutton or beef, which adds to high LDL.

• Curtail the consumption of deep fried food which is rich in trans-fat. These foods increase bad cholesterol, which gets deposited in the arteries very easily.

• Fish is recommended, generally it has got some very good nutrients which is good for the heart and also for the neurological system.

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