3 ways to eat your way to a healthy heart

3 ways to eat your way to a healthy heart teaser
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Australian men and women, but many of these deaths could be prevented by making lifestyle changes. Healthy eating can have a significant positive impact on blood pressure and cholesterol as well as helping to maintain a healthy weight and giving us the energy to be more active. 


 
1.Aim for 2 & 5
Most of have heard the message – ‘2 fruit and 5 Veg’ for good health – but the statistics show that the majority of us are still not getting enough. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of fibre (which helps to lower cholesterol) and potassium (which helps to lower blood pressure in healthy adults). Try some of the following tricks to up your intake:
Cut down the meat portion in your meals and instead add a tin of beans, chickpeas or lentils. Great in casseroles, soups and salads.
Add vegetables at breakfast. Swap your bacon and eggs for mushrooms and spinach or a grilled tomato.
Make vegetable packed snacks and light meals in advance eg. corn and carrot fritters, vegetable muffins,  bean dip or zucchini slice. Great for the school or work lunchbox.
Blitz up of frozen fruit in a food processor for a yummy dessert in seconds (over-ripe fruit is perfect for this!) 
 
2. Balance the fats
We all need some dietary fats, but the majority should be monounsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, avocados and olives. Oily fish also provides heart healthy omega-3 fats, so aim to have fish or seafood 2-3 times per week. Keep saturated fat sources, such as butter, fatty meats, and commercial sweet and savoury snack foods to a minimum. Coconut oil is also a significant source of saturated fat and should be used in moderation.
Foods with dietary cholesterol, such as eggs and prawns, have less effect on blood cholesterol than saturated fat. It is recommended that up to 6 eggs per week can be included as part of a healthy balanced diet.
 
3. Cut down the takeaways
Many commercially-prepared foods are significant sources of saturated fat and salt. Did you know an average takeaway burger meal provides 80% of the daily saturated fat recommended for an adult? A stir fry may seem like a healthier option, but an average takeaway noodle dish has over 2000mg of sodium, which is 86% of the daily recommendation for an adult. Some meals tested contained over 3000mg!
To cut down the takeaways try making healthy versions of some of your takeaway favourites at home – like homemade lamb burgers with yoghurt mint dressing. Planning ahead and freezing some healthy meals can give you a quick meals for those time-poor days.
 
So what changes can you make to ensure you have a healthy heart?
http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating
 
Kathryn Malley
Dietitian
360 Health + Community
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