Heart Disease

If you’re newly diagnosed with coronary heart disease and preparing to start the diet, this nutritional guide of how to protect your heart should be the first thing on your mind.

Whether you've been indulging in unhealthy eating habits for years or are looking to refine your diet, this guide will give you tips for maintaining a heart-healthy eating plan. By understanding which foods to increase and which ones to cut back on, you can take significant steps towards supporting your heart health through your diet.

Did you know-heart disease is the silent killer of millions of people around the world. However, according to the National Library of Medicine, 1 out of 4 middle-aged adults in Pakistan has coronary artery disease. These disorders constitute a significant contributor to illness and death. Identification of risk factors such as blood pressure, tobacco use, high cholesterol, diabetes, and physical inactivity is the key. This is where the role of nutrition comes in as it helps to reduce the risk factors.

Characterstics of Heart Disease

Heart disease happens when the arteries that supply blood to the heart narrow due to fatty deposits also known as plaque. This process is called atherosclerosis and it can initiate at a young age, progressing significantly by middle age.

The building up of fatty deposits can be categorized as stable or unstable. Excessive accumulation of stable plaque leads to narrowing of arteries, causing angina. This condition is characterized by chest pain and requires immediate medical attention.

On the other hand, unstable plaque is characterized by inflammation and a thin cap prone to exposing the fatty contents to the bloodstream. This clot formation occludes the artery obstructing the blood flow to the heart. This interruption in blood flow deprives the heart of oxygen, leading to damage or death of heart cells, resulting in a heart attack.

Risk Factors Associated with Heart Disease

Risk Factors that can't be changed

Risk Factors that can be changed

Age Obesity
Gender Cholesterol level
Family History Blood Pressure
Diabetes management

How to know if the Foods are causing High Cholesterol or it’s the Genetics?

There are rare genetic disorders that can cause excessive fat buildup in the blood. Although uncommon, many people have high cholesterol levels. Familial hypercholesterolemia, impacting seven in ten thousand individuals, is one example. Thus, seeking proper evaluation for an accurate diagnosis is essential rather than solely relying on opinions about genetic cholesterol problems. Additionally, if your thyroid is not working properly than your cholesterol would be high in spite of what you are eating regardless of your efforts to keep it low.

Cholesterol levels

Cholesterol is the soft fatty substance found in animal cells. All of your body's cells rely on cholesterol to stay healthy. A network of proteins in your blood carries it to every cell in your body. Increased cholesterol, specifically elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, can substantially increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disorders such as heart attacks and strokes.

LDL cholesterol is a contributor in the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which causes atherosclerosis and decreases blood flow to important organs. In contrast, low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is considered beneficial, may restrict the body's capacity to eliminate excess LDL cholesterol, hence aggravating the risk to heart disease.

Optimal cardiovascular health is achieved by aiming for ideal cholesterol levels. The optimal target for LDL cholesterol levels is below 100 mg/dL, however for HDL cholesterol levels it is 60 mg/dL or above. Furthermore, it is ideal to keep total cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dL.

Eggs and Cholesterol level

Eggs have been examined closely due to their cholesterol level, with a single large egg holding approximately 186 milligrams. Concerns emerged regarding their influence on cholesterol levels and cardiovascular well-being. Recent studies indicate that consuming a moderate amount of eggs is unlikely to have significant effects on blood cholesterol levels or increase the risk of heart disease for the majority of people

What is a Cardiac Diet?

What you might not know is that there are certain foods that can increase your heart disease risk, and changing your eating habits can be a life changer for you. It is a diet designed to prevent the likelihood of heart disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) outlines the fundamental concepts of the cardiac diet as follows:

  • Consume a wide range of vegetables and fruits while restricting the use of sugar and salt.
  • Pick whole grains over highly refined or white grains.
  • Obtain protein from plant-based sources such as legumes, nuts, and seeds, wherever feasible. When incorporating animal products into the diet, strive to select:
    • Fish and seafood
    • Low-fat animal proteins
    • Low-fat or non-fat dairy products
  • Utilize liquid non-tropical vegetable oils, such as olive oil, for cooking purposes.
  • Avoid consuming highly processed foods.
6 Healthy food for Kidney

8 Steps to prevent or control your Heart Disease

According to AHA these food are best to keep heart healthy.

STEP 1: Choose Variety of Fruits and Vegetables

Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables improves cardiovascular health and overall health. These nutritious foods provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, which benefit cardiovascular health. Dietary fiber in fruits and vegetables helps manage blood sugar, cholesterol, and digestion.

Fruits and vegetables include antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols that reduce inflammation and dilate the arteries. These meals' phytochemicals reduce oxidative stress and improve endothelial function, which are important for cardiovascular health.

Basic nutritional guidelines include 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables for a 2,000-calorie diet.

STEP 2: Choose Whole grains

Opting for whole grains instead of processed grains reduces the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. Refined grains have less useful fiber compared to whole grains. Examples include:

  • Whole grain bread
  • Whole grain pasta
  • Oats
  • Brown rice
  • High-fiber Cereal with 5g or more fiber.

STEP 3: Choose Healthy Protein

Optimal protein sources are essential for promoting overall health and well-being. Choosing protein-rich foods that are packed with nutrients and low in saturated fats can have a positive impact on several aspects of health, such as maintaining muscle mass, supporting immunological function, and promoting cardiovascular well-being. Below are many illustrations of nutritious protein sources:

  • Lean poultry: Skinless chicken or turkey breast is a low-fat protein option that offers necessary amino acids without an abundance of saturated fats.
  • Fish: Salmon, mackerel, and trout, which are types of fatty fish, include ample amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients are beneficial for cardiovascular health and general wellness.
  • Legumes: Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are exceptional sources of protein derived from plants. Additionally, they possess a significant amount of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Nuts and Seeds: Almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are highly nutritious choices that include protein, beneficial fats, and a range of critical components.

STEP 4: Choose Low-fat dairy

Low-fat dairy products, such as skim milk, low-fat yogurt, and reduced-fat cheese, provide healthful options that have lower amounts of saturated fats. These choices preserve vital nutrients such as calcium and protein while reducing the consumption of detrimental fats. Low-fat dairy products promote bone health due to their high calcium content and aid cardiovascular well-being by reducing saturated fat levels. Integrating low-fat dairy products into a well-balanced diet is by dietary recommendations, providing a heart-healthy strategy without sacrificing nutritional advantages. The healthy fat for the heart is:

  • Olive oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Avocado
  • Skim or 1% milk

STEP 5: Control Portion size

Portion size refers to the amount of food eaten during a meal or snack, which has a substantial impact on the number of calories consumed and the nutritional equilibrium. Over time, the proportions of food portions have significantly increased, resulting in excessive consumption and contributing to the prevalence of obesity and cardiovascular issues.

Seeing things can assist in precisely determining suitable portion proportions. For example, a portion of protein, such as meat or fish, is approximately equivalent to the length of a deck of cards, while a portion of carbs, like pasta or rice, is comparable to the size of a tennis ball. By including a generous amount of nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables in your diet, you can effectively satisfy your hunger without consuming excessive calories.

Engaging in deliberate evaluation of serving sizes and choosing foods that are rich in nutrients enables individuals to regulate calorie intake, maintain a healthy body weight, and diminish the likelihood of developing heart disease. Engaging in portion control is a fundamental aspect of maintaining a heart-healthy diet and promoting overall well-being.

STEP 6: Limit Sodium Intake

It is crucial to restrict or limit the use of salt (sodium) in order to maintain optimal heart health and prevent cardiovascular problems. Excessive intake of sodium is strongly associated with the development of high blood pressure (hypertension), which is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions.

Sodium is essential for maintaining fluid balance, regulating neuron activity, and facilitating muscular contractions in the body. Excessive salt intake can disturb this equilibrium, resulting in increased blood pressure levels.

Health professionals advise restricting sodium consumption to a maximum of 2,300 milligrams per day for the majority of adults. Individuals with certain health issues such as hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease are often advised to limit their daily sodium intake to roughly 1,500 mg.

Sodium is prevalent in processed and packaged foods, such as canned soups, processed meats, sauces, and snacks. Adhering to food labels and opting for fresh, unprocessed foods can effectively decrease salt consumption. In addition, substituting salt with herbs, spices, and other flavorings to season food may improve the taste while maintaining heart health.

STEP 7: Planning Meals Ahead

Developing regular meal plans is an active way to uphold cardiovascular health and general physical and mental wellness. Through precise menu planning, individuals can guarantee they receive a well-rounded selection of nutrients while staying clear of items that are harmful to heart health. The basis of heart-healthy diets is the inclusion of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. When planning menus, it is crucial to examine the balance of macronutrients, restrict sodium consumption, and stay clear of processed foods. Individuals can increase their overall quality of life and promote their cardiovascular health by deliberately creating daily diets that prioritize heart-healthy products and nutrition.

STEP 8: Treat Yourself once a While

A reasonable approach to living a healthy life, including heart health, can include giving yourself a treat every once in a while. Although it's best to eat healthy foods most of the time, treating yourself to treats every once in a while can make eating more fun and satisfying. Treats are fun, but they should only be eaten in small amounts, so keep that in mind. Choosing treats that are lower in sodium, extra sugars, and saturated fats can help keep your heart healthy. In addition, mixing treats with healthy foods and regular exercise can help lessen any possible negative effects on heart health.

By adding treats to your diet every once in a while, you can develop a healthy relationship with food and avoid feeling deprived, which will help you stick to a heart-healthy lifestyle over time. Keeping in mind that treats should only be eaten in moderation and with care can help your heart health and general health.

The Food Balance to the Rescue

"The Food Balance is committed to assisting individuals in the management of heart health issues by offering a convenient means of promoting cardiovascular well-being in the comfort of their own homes." Our experienced nutritionist provide customized heart nutrition treatment plans designed to meet individual needs, promoting healthy cardiac function. Book us to obtain professional guidance, enabling individuals to strengthen their capacity to manage and increase their cardiovascular well-being. By utilizing The Food Balance, you may actively pursue a lifestyle that promotes a healthy heart, all while remaining in the convenience of your own home.


A cardiovascular diet is essential to maintain the health of the heart. Contact our clinic to get more information about nutritional care.


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