NUTRITION AND HEART HEALTH
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, take a second serving and eating until you feel stuffed, can lead to eating more calories than you should.
Use a small plate or bowl to control your portions. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruit and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods. This strategy can shape up your diet, your heart and waistline.
Keep track of the number of servings you eat!
Fruit and vegetables are good sources of vitamins and minerals, at the same time low in calories and rich in dietary fibre. Like other plants or plant-based foods, fruit and vegetables contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruit and vegetables may help you cut back on higher-calorie foods, such as meat, cheese and snacks.
Whole-grains are good sources of fibre and other nutrients that help regulate blood pressure and improve heart health. You can increase the amount of whole-grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or be adventurous and try other whole-grain products, such as farro, quinoa or barley.
Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower-fat options, such as skimmed milk rather than full cream milk, and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken patties.
Fish is a source of protein and good fats. Certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You will find the highest amount of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring. Other plant-based proteins include flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.
Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — are also good protein sources that contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein — for example, a soy or bean burger for a hamburger — will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake while increasing your fibre intake.
Eating a lot of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. So, the key to a heart-healthy diet is to reduce salt intake.
It is good to reduce the amount of salt you add to food while cooking and at the table, but many do not know that most of the salt we consume comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups, baked foods and frozen dinners. Eating fresh foods and making your own soups and stews can reduce your salt intake.
Another way to reduce the amount of salt you eat is to choose your condiments carefully. Many sauces are available in reduced-sodium versions, and salt-substitutes like spices can add flavour to your food with lesser sodium.
Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step in reducing your blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a build-up of plaques in your arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You can also use low-fat substitutions when possible for a heart-healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with low-sodium salsa or low-fat yoghurt rather than butter, or use sliced fruit or low-sugar fruit spread on your toast instead of margarine.
Watch the replay of Cooking demo by Celebrity Chef Sam and Forest Leong
Watch this nutrition talk to discover more about cholesterol and debunking myths that will change your health!