The Reliance GP Blog

Healthy food, healthy heart – diet tips for cardiovascular health
Missy Tysoe November 16, 2017

Healthy food, healthy Heart - diet tips for cardiovascular health

Healthy food, healthy Heart – diet tips for cardiovascular health

Healthy eating and drinking is an important part of looking after your heart. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make some changes that can improve your health. Here are some simple and straightforward tips – approved by the Heart Foundation.

Foods to watch and why:

Salt: Eating too much salt over time can increase your risk of high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease. Salt is found in almost every food we eat,  and in the average western diet, there is no need to add salt to food to get your intake. Salt is used for flavouring as a preservative, so  sauces, chips and packaged foods are often high in salt. If you have high blood pressure, limit your salt intake to 4g (1600 mg sodium) a day.

Cholseterol and FatsCholesterol is a fat found in your blood. Cholesterol in food has only a small effect on the bad (LDL) cholesterol in your blood, while Saturated and trans fats in food causes a much greater increase in LDL cholesterol. Eating healthy fats actually helps the cholesterol balance by decreasing LDL and increasing the good cholesterol. Reduce your intake of bad fats (trans and saturated fats) like full fat dairy, oils, takeaway, deep fried foods, pastries and sweets. Enjoy a balanced intake of good fats (unsaturated incl. omega 3 & 6) found in avocado, nuts, seeds, olive or canola oils, and oily fish.

Carbohydrates and Sugars: Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy, but there are types of carbohydrates that can spike blood sugar – this then leads to a drop in energy which is when we tend to chase that “pick me up” feeling from a snack. This cycle increases the amount of kilojoules from sugar, which heightens the risk of diabetes and obesity – both factors that contribute to  heart disease. Low GI foods means a slower release of energy, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain  breads, wholegrain cereals and wholegrain pastas. They’re all part of a healthy eating pattern that allows for more stable levels in your energy levels. Avoid sugar loaded carbs like white breads, white pastas, cakes, confectionary, biscuits and soft drinks and even juices.

What you can eat: 

The fresher the better, as most fresh fruit and veg, as well as meats and seafood – do not contain the salty preservatives, deep fried oils or refined sugars that you should be avoiding. Can the soft drink (pardon the pun) and try some infused water, tea or coffee (in moderation). The heart foundation has a selection of yummy recipes to try that provide a range of health benefits and are good for your heart (and tastebuds). They can be found here. https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/recipes

Remember to keep active as physical activity keeps your cardiovascular system in check. Other factors for heart disease include smoking and family history – so bin the bad habits and get checked with your GP today.

Talk with your Reliance GP about what’s right for you 43 041 333. Reliance also offers accredited dietician and nutritionist services, at both our Wyong and West Gosford clinics. Ask your GP for a referral today. 

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