What does heart healthy eating look like? – foodhealthy.live

What does heart healthy eating look like?

What does a heart-healthy eating pattern look like?
Enjoying a wide variety of foods focused on fresh and unprocessed food can be good for your heart.

A diet naturally low in unhealthy fats, salt and added sugar, and rich in wholegrains, fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats is ideal.

Follow our 5-step heart-healthy eating pattern to help you achieve this balance.

  1. Eat plenty of vegetables, fruit and wholegrains
    Fruit and vegetables are some of the best foods for your heart, but most Australians aren’t eating anywhere near enough. These foods contain a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as fibre and antioxidants, and have been shown to help prevent heart disease. Read more about fruit, vegetables and how they protect your heart.

Wholegrains are foods like brown rice, wholemeal pasta, grainy bread and oats. These foods are full of fibre and can help lower your cholesterol. Swapping from refined grains like white bread and white rice to wholegrain versions is a simple change that can improve your diet.

Read more about the importance of these simple swaps for a healthy heart.​

  1. Include a variety of healthy protein-rich foods
    Some protein-rich foods are better choices than others. The best options are plant-based proteins like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds, as well as fish and seafood. These foods have been shown to reduce your risk of developing heart disease[2].

Eggs and poultry are also protein-rich foods that can be enjoyed as part of a heart-healthy eating pattern.

If you eat red meat, it’s best to limit it to 1-3 meals per week as research shows it is associated with an increased risk of heart disease[3].

Read more about why some proteins are better than others and how much and how often you should be including them in your eating pattern.

  1. Choose unflavoured milk, yoghurt and cheese
    These foods don’t increase or decrease your risk of heart disease, but they can be an important source of calcium, protein and other minerals.

Unflavoured versions with no added sugar are the healthiest options.

If you have heart disease or high cholesterol, reduced-fat milk, yoghurt, and cheese are healthier options. For those who don’t, you can choose between reduced-fat or full-fat alternatives.

Read more to discover the different types of dairy foods and their impact on heart health.

  1. Include healthy fats and oils
    Fats and oils can play an important role in your risk of developing heart disease, and they can add flavour and fun to your food.

Different types of fats can impact your health differently—healthy fats can help protect your heart, and unhealthy fats can increase your risk of developing heart disease. Read more here about how to get the right balance of fats in your diet.

Choose foods with high amounts of healthy fats such as avocados, olives, nuts and seeds, and use healthy oils for cooking, for example, olive, canola, sunflower, peanut and soybean oil. These foods can help lower your cholesterol.

  1. Use herbs and spices to flavour foods instead of salt
    Eating too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. On average, Australians are eating nearly double the recommended amount of salt[4]. Read more about why salt can be bad for your heart health.

Many people don’t realise that most of the salt they eat is found in processed and packaged foods such as canned foods, deli meats (like ham and salami) and baked goods. Reading food labels can help you make healthier choices in the supermarket aisle.

One of the best ways to reduce the amount of salt you eat is to base your diet on fresh, unprocessed foods like fruit and vegetables. If you want to add extra flavour to your food, try adding herbs and spices. Did you know all our Heart Foundation recipes help reduce salt intake and build your confidence in using herbs and spices – explore here.

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