Did you know that up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through your life habits, such as eating a healthy diet and being physically active? What does a healthy, balanced diet look like? Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating a variety of healthy foods each day. This includes eating plant-based foods more often and choosing highly-processed or ultra-processed foods less often.
How much you eat at each sitting is just as important as what you put in your body. To control your portion size, use a smaller plate or bowl, or eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods. Using this strategy can help control your eating habits as well as lead to more heart-friendly meals.
FRUITS & VEGGIES
Eating fruits and vegetables is a great way to make sure you’re getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Not only are some fruits and vegetables low in calories and rich in dietary fibres, but they also contain substances that can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Increasing your intake in fruits and vegetables can help you cut back on higher calorie foods like meats, cheese, and snack foods.
CONSUME HEALTHY FATS
Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat every single day is an important step to help reduce your blood cholesterol and help lower your risk of coronary artery disease. Individuals with high blood cholesterol levels can have a buildup of plaques in their arteries, often referred to as atherosclerosis, that can increase their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It is suggested that no one eats more than 11-13g of saturated fat if you follow a 2,000 calorie a day diet, and trans fats should be avoided altogether.
Try adding healthy fats like flaxseed oil into your daily menu. Flaxseed oil contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities.
Creating daily menus and selecting meals and snacks that have an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins can not only help curb bad eating habits, but it can also help make your meals more heart healthy. When eating more heart-healthy foods, it is important to vary your meals so that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
Creating daily menus will also help when it comes time to go to the grocery store. With a well-developed meal plan, you’ll be less tempted by all of the unhealthy snacks and treats!