If you intend to lose weight in order to keep your heart healthy, you are on the right track. In that case, you might be already suffering from a heart disease or you are trying to prevent one. In both cases it is a wise decision and there is a lot that you can do for yourself. Even small amount weight loss can have great effects on your health.
Eating a healthy and a balanced diet is the best way to manage weight and maintain a healthy heart. However, there are a few things that you can do to lose weight while improving your heart health.
Preventing Heart Disease
Recent studies have shown the effects of certain foods in preventing heart disease. Make sure to include these in your regular diet.
Antioxidants: Certain antioxidants can prevent heart disease.
- Flavonoids – present in onions, garlic and apples.
- Vitamin E – present in nuts, wheat germ, sprouts, etc
- Vitamin C – present in citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables and grams.
Three servings of vegetable and two servings of fruits daily are suggested to meet the antioxidant requirement.
High fiber: A diet high in fiber is recommended in order to reduce the risk of heart diseases.
- Oat & barley products – They are rich in fiber and also help to reduce cholesterol.
- Vegetables, legumes, cluster beans and fenugreek seeds.
- Fruits like apples, guava, pear, and pomegranate.
Unsaturated fatty acids: These fatty acids have shown to have lipid lowering properties and also seems to lower the risk of heart disease.
- Fish and fish oil – Salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines etc.
- Virgin olive oil, soy, flaxseeds, etc.
- Nuts like walnuts, almonds, etc.
Vitamin B: Vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and folic acid are of special importance as their deficiency can cause a rise in the homocysteine levels in blood. Increased levels of homocysteine are considered as an independent risk factor for heart diseases.
- Milk, eggs and liver.
- Whole grains, cereals, rice and bananas.
- Fresh green vegetables like asparagus, spinach, green peas and beans.
Sample meal plan
- 1 bowl of oats with milk
- 1 apple
- 2-3 almonds
- 1 baked fish
- 1 slice multigrain bread
- 1 bowl sprouts with vegetable salad
- ½ bowl mixed fruit salad
- 1 glass plain yoghurt
- 1/2 bowl spinach soup
- 1 slice of lean chicken slice
- 1 bowl lettuce and peas salad with added olive oil
- ½ pear
In between: 1- 2 walnuts OR 2-3 almonds OR 1 glass plain buttermilk
Weight loss tips
- Choose complex carbohydrates instead of simple ones. Avoid simple sugars and processed foods. Choose lean cuts of meat, chicken and fish.
- Take 3 or 4 small meals instead of big ones.
- Evening meals should be taken early and 2 hours before retiring to bed.
- Physical activity and relaxed attitudes helps to combat stress better.
- It is ideal to walk for at least half an hour daily initially and gradually increase your activity levels.