Healthy food for a healthy heart!

By admin
26 September 2013

September is Heart Awareness Month so it’s a good time to start working on a healthy eating plan.

The month of September always bring new challenges when it comes to improving your lifestyle ? losing that extra winter fat, meeting all your deadlines so you can go on a well-deserved end-of-year holiday, planning that well-deserved end-of-year holiday . . . Without knowing it, all the preparation and organising can put a lot of strain on your body, especially your most valuable organ, your heart.

With September being Heart Awareness Month, working on a healthy eating plan is a good start to feeling excellent. When deciding on an eating plan make sure you include nutrients such as vitamins A, C and E, good fats and fibre which are great for your heart.

Here are a six recommend food sources which are good for you:

  • Pilchards

This source is packed with proteins, calcium, B vitamins and good fats to prevent blood clotting and aid the lowering of cholesterol levels. Other options of oily fish include sardines, salmon, mackerel and tuna.  It’s recommended by The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa to eat at least two servings (100 g each) of these fish a week.

  • Avocado

Another great source packed with good fats to help lower cholesterol levels. Just be careful with the serving size – one portion of avocado is the equivalent of a quarter of a small avo, which supplies the same energy (kilojoules) as a teaspoon of margarine.

Tip:  Green up your salads and sandwiches with a delicious avocado.  Another option is to mix avo with skimmed milk to make a healthy shake.

  • Walnuts

Not only do walnuts contain fibre and vitamins A, C and E, they’re also high in healthy fats which again help to lower cholesterol levels and prevent the clotting of blood in your system. Don’t only limit yourself to walnuts though; also try other nuts such as almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews and macadamias. You can enjoy them in any form – eat them as a snack, crush them into smoothies, enjoy them in dressings over salads or in food.  Keep in mind these nuts are high in energy (kilojoules) so if you want to lose weight, don’t over enjoy yourself. One portion is equivalent to a small handful.

Tip: When buying nuts, stay away from those covered in salt.

  • Olive oil

Olive oil is known for its cholesterol-lowering effects and it also helps to reduce the onset of the atherosclerosis process whereby the arteries narrow and harden. Other substitutes or replacements for olive oil would be canola, avocado and peanut oil. 

Tip: When using oil in food, replace butter or ghee with Heart Mark-approved vegetable oils ? they have less unhealthy fat.

  • Beans

Healthy and filled with protein, soluble fibre and vitamins, beans are a healthy option as a meal on its own or used in stews and casseroles.  Another legume which can also be included regularly in your diet is peas.

Tip: For easy and economical purposes buy canned beans.

  • Strawberries

Due to their fibre and vitamin A, C and E content, strawberries and other berries are really good heart-health options. A daily combination of other fruit, especially citrus and yellow- or orange-coloured fruit, and vegetables will give you the nutrients your body needs.

Tip: Make sure you eat at least five portions altogether of vegetables and fruit every day. A delicious way is to combine fruit with yoghurt to make a delicious smoothie.

Source: The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa

Credit: ISTOCKPHOTO

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