Heart healthy diet plans need to focus on foods plans that address abnormal cholesterol, inflammation, oxidative stress and metabolic syndrome features (belly fat, hypertension, high fasting blood glucose, abnormal cholesterol markers). A nutrient poor, imbalanced diet can induce the many underlying factors that are associated with cardiovascular disease.
You have more control over your health than you may think. Food is powerful information for your body and all of the underlying factors associated with cardiovascular disease can be dramatically reduced with food and nutrition. The quality of food you put in your body is important– food is information that can quickly change your metabolism and genes.
Healthy heart diet plans should focus on low-glycemic carbohydrates, healthy fats and adequate protein with special attention on high dietary fiber (especially soluble fiber), antioxidant-rich foods, potassium/magnesium/calcium-rich foods, nuts and seeds and quality soy protein. Small, frequent meals and snacks that contain either healthy fat or quality protein are encouraged.
Avoid! Trans fats (partially hydrogenated, hydrogenated fats and oils), processed industrial vegetable oils and food products that contain these fats and oils, sugar in all forms – including high fructose corn syrup - and if you drink alcohol, do so in moderation (*high triglycerides – lower/avoid alcohol).
AM meal: Steel cut oats w/ nut butter, walnuts, fresh ground flaxseed or whole chia seeds, blueberries, unsweetened coconut milk, cinnamon. Hard boiled pasture-raised omega-3 enriched egg. Unsweetened green tea.
AM snack: Unroasted almonds, strawberries. Unsweetened green tea
Mid-day meal: Salad with organic, non-gmo tempeh or baked tofu, legumes, celery, tomatoes, avocado, radish, green onions, broccoli, olives, beets, unroasted pumpkin seeds. Dress with quality canola or olive oil, vinegar, lemon or lime juice and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Serve over mixed greens or baby spinach. Filtered Water
PM snack: Avocado w/ lemon. Edamame. Fresh pressed vegetable juice
Evening meal: Baked wild salmon, quinoa, steamed broccoli, small green salad dressed with quality canola or olive oil, vinegar, lemon or lime juice and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Filtered Water
Evening snack: Plain, organic 2% or whole milk Greek yogurt w/ grated coconut, raw wheat germ. Unsweetened herbal tea
*If you drink alcohol, limit it to 2 drinks/day for men, 3 drinks per week for women
If you have apoE4 genotype (see more about this here) or if meal plan#1 is not having a significant impact on your CVD markers, consider modifying the meal plan to lower the fat content, lower/avoid alcohol and see if those changes make any difference.
For example, start by eliminating the hard boiled egg in the AM, think about serving sizes and measure out higher fat items such as, nut butter (1/2 TBSP), nuts (palm-sized serving, 2 TBSP flaxseed, 3 TBSP unsweetened coconut) oils (1 tsp), small avocado (1/2) and coconut milk (1 1/2 TBSP) and switch out the fuller fat Greek yogurt with a organic, plain low-fat version. Increase serving sizes of non-starchy vegetables, low-glycemic whole fruits, whole, intact grains and whole, plant-based protein sources.
Nutritional supplement support: Its best to use testing to guide supplementation. You may consider targeted supplement support in addition to your heart healthy diet plans.
General cardiovascular health: High quality multivitamin with methylated folate and B12 and with chelated minerals, vitamin D3 (supplement based on serum levels, goal of 50-80 ng/mL), if you are not eating omega-3 fatty acid-rich fish 2-3 times per week, consider supplementing with a quality fish oil (1 g/day), balance with GLA supplementation (evening primrose oil) *for triglyceride lowering: 2-4 g/day quality fish oil, balance with GLA supplementation (evening primrose oil).
This is a general guide to healthy heart diet plans and will need to be personalized and modified based on your health condition and individual variables. You may consider trying out a heart healthy Mediterranean diet plan and recipes (use promotional code "Vitality1" on the "Sign Up Now" page for 15% off your subscription) as your first step. Other factors such as exercise, sleep, stress and weight management and smoking cessation are also important for cardiovascular health.
Some references: Institute for Functional Medicine
Each month I’ll bring you the latest research related to natural healing and nutrition in a way that will be of use to you.
Sign up for Natural Healing & Nutrition Update here...