Your Heart Healthy Diet Plan

| March 3, 2011 | Comments (41)

One of the main causes of heart disease and stroke is atherosclerosis or the blocking of arteries. Luckily, the artery-clogging process can be slowed down by changing your diet and lifestyle and, in some cases, doing this can even reverse the narrowing of arteries.

Making these dietary and lifestyle changes is even more important if you’ve already had a heart attack or a medical procedure (such as angioplasty, bypass surgery or carotid surgery) to restore blood flow to your heart or other areas of your body. In these cases, acting preventatively can also protect against restenosis, or the re-narrowing of your arteries.

Making these changes can be daunting and perhaps the easiest way to start is to always keep your heart in mind when you eat. Following a heart-healthy diet can help reduce total and LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugars levels, and reduce body weight.

You will know, as well as I do, that most diets focus on what you CAN’T or shouldn’t eat. More often than not, this includes almost all your favourite foods! That’s why adding heart-saving foods to your diet instead of just cutting back on food that is less good for you, is a much better strategy for incorporating these healthy changes into your life.

In the post, 3 Simple Ways to Lower Your Cholesterol Without Harmful Drugs, we showed you how to maintain healthy cholesterol levels without taking statin drugs. Add to that the following 5 nutritional tips and you will be well on your way to a healthier heart:

1. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes: Sulphoraphane found in vegetables like broccoli, has been proven to have heart-protecting benefits. Eating more fruit and grains will increase your dietary fibre, which will also help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

2. Choose fat calories wisely: Limit your total fat intake. Eat less saturated fats and trans-fatty acids (for example, fats found in margarine, salad dressing, sweets and desserts). Avoid partially hydrogenated oils as much as possible. These are usually found in processed or manufactured foods, like margarine, and will sometimes appear on labels as ‘vegetable oils’. Eat more monounsaturated fats (for example, fats found in olive and peanut oil). Olive oil is rich in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that promote heart health.

3. Eat a variety of protein foods: Balance your intake of protein by having a variety of protein foods from animal, fish and vegetable sources. Animal protein like red meat and dairy products are among the main culprits for increasing heart disease risk. Eating more fish, like omega-3-rich salmon will not only help protect your heart but will also boost your energy levels, help fight certain types of cancer, improve your sleep, help with arthritis, reduce high blood pressure and improve cognitive function.

4. Eating complex carbohydrates: Whole-wheat pasta, brown or wild rice, root vegetables, oat, barley and whole-grain breads are all complex carbohydrates that are rich in fibre and contain nutrients like phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates (including white bread and pasta, and biscuits), that can all increase your LDL cholesterol levels and raise your risk of heart disease.

5. Feed your body regularly: Skipping meals often leads to overeating. For some, eating five to six mini-meals may help keep cravings in check, help control blood sugars and regulate metabolism. This approach may not be as effective for those who are tempted to overeat every time they are exposed to food. For these individuals, three balanced meals a day may be a better approach.

Here’s to keeping your heart strong and healthy

Francois Lubbe
Managing Editor
for The Cholesterol Truth

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Sources:

‘Include complex carbohydrates in your diet to lose weight’ published online 11. 09.09, fastandquickweightloss.com

What are the health benefits of olive oil? Is extra-virgin oil better than regular olive oil?, published online, mayoclinic.com

‘High Cholesterol: Heart-Healthy Diet’ published online, webmd.com

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Category: Diet and Exercise

Comments (41)

Testimonials are based on the personal experience of individuals. Results are not typical and the potential benefits of taking any drug or supplement may vary depending on your individual needs and health requirements. Please consult your GP before making any changes to your medical regimen.

  1. Ashton says:

    Why has my doctor not told me about these things? This sounds a a lot better than popping drugs every day of my life.

  2. Nils Simonson says:

    Most people( over 95%) with high cholesterol dont need statins.
    Cholesterol is transported in protein in the blood.
    Either as LDL or as HDL.
    LDL has two components.One big good big and fluffy .
    The other is a small aggressive fellow which is dangerous.
    HDL transports fats back to the liver.HDL values shall be as high as possible.
    If you eat to much carbohydrates (sugar,strach from pasta,bread,rice and pasta,potatoes),the small aggressive LDL goes up.And HDL goes down.
    Another dangerous fat : triglycerides gos up when you eat carbs.
    You can have high total Cholesterol with a lot of the GOOD LDL och HDL and the you should not eat statins.
    Of 131000 patients coming to US hospitals with myocardial infarction:half of them had low cholesterol and the other half high.
    The gold standard investigation called The Framingham study showed that for 1% lowering of cholesterol there was a 14% higher totalmortality.

    Every Doctor should read David Evans book :Low cholesterol leads to an early death.He investigates 101 studies from renowned medical publications.
    You can get the book from Amazon and show your doctor.
    It costs a lot less than a month on statins.Remember that statins are supposed to be eaten for the rest of your life.

  3. Thurasiappah says:

    In a latest report American Medical Association suggested elderly should take statins even their cholesterol levels are normal to prevent future health problems.

  4. Martin Tobin says:

    Statins cause so many problems in your body
    And if you take them only the numbers go down .
    When it comes to drugs I only trust myself and not the medics . Most are only making money for the pharmaceutical company’s .
    Things that lowers LDL do not have grains , dairy products any spreads other than butter . And do take Olive oil , flax seed , exercise enough , get your BMI in line .
    And the main help would be red yeast rice extract .

    • Susan says:

      So called “bad” cholesterol is produced by the body in response to inflammation, or cell damage (it’s a vital component of the cell membrane) More than 70% of heart attack victims have normal to low cholesterol levels. Recent studies have shown that while statins and other similar drugs do reduce blood cholesterol levels, they do nothing to reduce other factors which indicate the likelihood of stroke or heart attack. I strongly suspect that the WHO will be shortly issuing a recommendation for acceptable blood cholesterol levels to be raised, in the same way they have with blood pressure levels.

  5. karyn says:

    I was on lipitor for few years and I turned into an older person completely . I was not able to climb stairs without much difficulty,raise my arms above my head and was very overweight and depressed .My joints constantly pained and I had a bad back problem with lots of pain . I decided to stop taking the statins after reading a lot from your emails . My cholesterol was 8.2 a year ago.I recently had it checked and its now 7.2 . My Gp has suggested Cipantil supra or Ezetrol . He said des are not statins but above all I would prefer to have some natural remedy . Can u advise me please .

  6. najiba says:

    Hi,
    I was shocked to find out that I have a high cholesterol. I always eat healthy and physically active anyway now I have got three months to lower my cholesterol without a medication. I have started to take Homeopathy medicine and Olive oil three teaspoon a day for three weeks. Lets what happens after three months. Your site is very helpful.
    Thank you very much

  7. Esther (in France) says:

    It is not only statins that cause problems, so do Fenofibrates. I had been taking the same dose, on and off, for 5 years. I got to a stage where I had a job to walk, sit or sleep for pain in my muscles, loss of memory, thinning of my hair and drying of the skin. A conversation with a kidney specialist made me stop taking them. It was pointed out that high cholesterol was not a disease but a symptom associated with heart problems. He also said I had a choice! I am now taking a product made from Red Rice Yeast (on prescription) After 3 months i have no pain, better memory, hair condition and my skin is not dry anymore. I await the results of my next blood test!

  8. KK says:

    can exercise alone lower cholesterol?

  9. maria says:

    very good information thank you mareia

  10. Investigate This Site says:

    Good day! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a
    community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on.
    You have done a marvellous job!

  11. j.smith says:

    Hi, vegetarian for 35 plus years, have high cholesterol of over 10!! Statins made my muscles in arms/legs weak. Anything to help that would lower the stuff quickly! Veggie means lots of diary stuff anyway and dont eat fish either…. Help!

  12. Agnes says:

    Juice Monavie with Acai berry is the best product on the world, it helped for all my family, Agnes

  13. pauline sinnott says:

    On lipitor for 12 months get a lot of back pain, knee and hip and also headaches. When this happens I take paracetomol. I an also on cardacor and asprin as I have an irregular heart beat. Can you help

    • Mairead Sweetman says:

      My brother was on that particular drug called Lipitor and had very bad side effects aches and pains allover. That same drug got a very bad write up some years ago on the National Newspapers He went to his doctor and he prescribed another drug which had the same effect for lowering his cholestrol so maybe that Lipitor does not suit you

  14. Lorraine says:

    I have been put on fenabrate micronised 160 mg has any one heard of these really unsure if to take. It’s not what I eat that my cholesterol is high, it my body that is producing it, what else can I do?

  15. Judith says:

    I have high cholesterol level, recently diagnoised after blood test. I have changed my diet, doing a lot of jogging and cardios including spinning. How long does it take to see change in cholestrol level? Thanks

  16. Lynn says:

    DON’T take statins. There has been an update on cholesterol. It’s not high cholesterol that is to blame for heart attacks. Read up on it. Just give up meat…all meat, eat fruit and veg, preferably as much raw as you can. Cut out animal fats and dairy. Do lots of juicing and blending, eat organic. You’ll live to 120 and instead of surviving, you’ll thrive!

  17. Rajini says:

    Very good help,good information I did read about this page.thank you.keep giving more information like this in future.thanking again

  18. JEN says:

    I have been on statins for 10 years but recently stopped taking them due to frightful, incapacitating cramps of the back muscles, coupled with fatigue, stomach cramps, and depression. My two brothers have had coronaries and I too was considered at risk, although with no symptoms. I am so pleased to read the dietary advice you give – I shall certainly never take statins again. I was wrongly advised by the medical profession!

  19. enlightened says:

    Never take statins before looking at healthy eating first ,it changed my life for the good

  20. anna says:

    I have had high cholestorol for 3 years with the same reading 7.4 and have now gone on statins to lower it. I had eaten veg and nothing else previous to that and was miserable -it did read as 5.1. I think its not what you eat – its the liver producing this too and to listen to your GP and take the statins for a while and come off it when you, your diet and excercise have taken a new role to better life style. I also think that a certain group of people can be recommended to take statins.

    • kagendo says:

      Anna- i am tempted to agree with you. i have been on Crestor 10 for over 6 years and my GP tells me i have to take them for ever. I exercise at least 4 days a week and am very particular about the food i eat. This year the levels went down to 6 which is considered normal and after that i decided to stop taking the medicine. After 2 months i went for a check up and its had gone to ahigh of 7.I think, its good to take the medicine, and after the levels go down then you manage with food and exercise. My GP said my body produces the bad ccholestral and i have to take it as along as i live. Is this true-whats the need of taking medication if you will never be healed? Can anyone tell me if Q10 works and where can i buy it. I have been taking Omega 3 Fish oil supplement for over a year, does it help?

  21. Vera says:

    Very helpful and informative. Thank you.2 years ago I was diagnosed with high cholesterol ,otherwise healthy, feeling great. I changed my diet, stopped smoking, eating lot of fruit and vegetables, cut meat consumption to half, neo bread, pasta (wheat flour),eating organig food. Today my cholesterol is unbelievably high, my doctor says immediatelly on statin drug. I am scared, but I will still not take the drug. I am waiting for hip replacement surgery, it is harder for me to exercise, but I still do. Tru, I had emotionally hard year, I am learning EFT. Any suggestions?

  22. Lydia says:

    Thanks a million times for these top secret.it is an eye opener.

  23. kal says:

    My cholestrol use to be over 6, in October 2008. i lost my parents to this too. my dad had a heart attack at 60 and mum had a stroke at 58. That made me look into my health. I do alot of cardio, jogging, this had now brought my cholestrol down to 4.7 which i have worked hard to bring down. We all enjoy take out, as you only live the once. But remeber what you put in body, is what you get out. Hope this has helped you guys.

  24. thom73 says:

    Very interesting article, very interesting blog. I have problems with cholesterol and this article was very helpful for me … thank you!

  25. Saad Taha says:

    I like this help

  26. abiodunidowu says:

    thank u for the good job dat u are doing to saveguard d health of the world.keep it up.

  27. anthony sircar says:

    Ok its not how high your cholesterol its the type that matters ! What you after is high HDL , low triglycerides ! And your LDL made up of the typeA LDL not type B LDL! Your type A goes up as well as HDL when you eat more fats including saturated ! Your type B goes up and you HDL goes down , your triglycerides go up when you eat to many refined and carbohydrates , not enough fat , including saturates! Trans fats are bad for you , but there is no eveidence whats so ever that fats are , infact fats including coconut oil are generally good for you. The main cause of heart disease is refined carbohydrates and sugars ! Its about time spark people caught up with the latest science! What you nee is to increase fats and protein and decrease carbs to 30% or less and make sure they are low GL type! fats should be 40% and a good balance of omega 6 and 3s ! so thats leaves protein 30% with a 10% of which vegetable proteins!

  28. antoinette attard says:

    i am scared stiffof statins

  29. lynne says:

    i’ve just been told my cholestrol is too high, doctors have given me a diet advice sheet which says to avoid coconut so yes it may be the reason.

  30. Alice says:

    I have been taken coconut oil as I heard it was good for you I took about 3 tablespoons a day. Ive been told my cholesterol is high i never had a problem with my cholesterol before does anyone know would it be as a result of the coconut oil.

  31. Alice says:

    I have been taken coconut oil as I heard it was good for you I took about 3 tablespoons a day. Ive been told my cholesterol is high i never had a problem with my cholesterol before does anyone know would it be as a result of the coconut oil.

  32. Christina zambus says:

    Have high cholesterol and with ststins i lose a lot of muscle mass . Would like to know of something natural to lower it . Thanks!

  33. catherine lumsden says:

    i was told to come off statins as my kidneys are enlarged after been on statins for 2 years. but how can i keep my cholesterol down. i was on a diet before i went on statins and lost 2 stones in weight but my cholesteral was still high.

  34. Carmen says:

    Does Nacian, psyllium,oat bran,soybean,wheat germ, and dark chocolate keep the bad cholesterol down and keep it away if taken everyday. Can we take psyllium,nacian together?

  35. Sophie says:

    Need help

  36. Pamela Monaghan says:

    I don’t have an account but I am interested in what ever advice you have.

  37. Janice McCulloch says:

    Thanx for the info re white bread & past affecting cholesterol levels adversely-I thought it was mainly saturated fats & simple carbs that did this. I was on statins some time back but would much rather use diet to control LDLs as I have heard statins can deplete your body of Co-enzyme Q10.

  38. Elaine LeBlanc says:

    I would like to have some additional information sent by e-mail if possible.

Leave a Reply

Testimonials are based on the personal experience of individuals. Results are not typical and the potential benefits of taking any drug or supplement may vary depending on your individual needs and health requirements. Please consult your GP before making any changes to your medical regimen.




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