HEART HEALTH 101: DIET

About 130 heart attacks, and 240 strokes occur on a daily basis in South Africa, which means that 10 people have a stroke and 5 people have a heart attack EVERY HOUR. Shocking, am I right? The saddest part is that most of the time these diseases are preventable, if you just follow the right guidelines. Protect your heart as well as your loved ones’ by sharing the priceless gift of knowledge with guidelines below.

HOW TO MAINTIAIN A HEATHLY HEART

There are numerous diseases of the heart and the circulatory system, which can severely impact one’s quality of life, and even result in death. Thankfully, 80% of cardiovascular disease (CVD) can be prevented by altering one’s lifestyle! So, the first step towards decreasing your risk and changing your lifestyle is following a healthy diet. Below are a few tips to get your started:

Enjoy a variety of foods

  • Different foods provide different nutrients, so ensure that you include an assortment of foods.

Make high-fibre starchy foods part of most meals2

  • These foods ensure that you feel fuller for longer and fibre has so many health benefits.
  • Watch your portion size!

Chicken, fish, meat or eggs can be eaten everyday2

  • Choose lean options and make sure you remove the skin of the chicken and the fat from meat before you cook.
  • Include fresh or tinned fish in your diet at least twice a week. Fish contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Try to have low-fat milk, maas, or yoghurt every day2

  • These foods can help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease.
  • Remember to opt for the low-fat or fat-free options.

Eat dried beans, split peas, lentils or soya at least twice a week2

  • They are a great source of fibre, are high in protein and low in fat.
  • You can replace meat with these foods, which will help your heart and your pocket.

Try to eat 5 fruit and vegetables a day

  • The vitamins, minerals and fibre found in these foods help protect you from chronic diseases.
  • Remember to eat a variety of different colours to get the most vitamins and minerals.

Eat less salt and avoid foods high in salt2

  • This will help prevent high blood pressure.
  • You should not eat more than 6g or 1 teaspoon of salt per day.
  • Avoid adding salt to food while cooking or at the table.
  • Processed foods contain large amounts of “hidden salt”.

Use fat sparingly; choose vegetable oils rather than hard fats2

  • Limit the amount of fat from red meat, butter, hard margarine and cream and rather use vegetable oils and soft margarines in small amounts.
  • Nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avocados and fatty fish are all sources of good fats.

Eat less sugar and avoid food or drinks high in sugar

  • Excess sugar intake can contribute to weight gain which increases your risk of chronic diseases.

Drink plenty of clean, safe water every day

  • Aim for about 6 – 8 glasses per day.

Cut out excessive alcohol use

  • If you drink alcohol, then you must do so in moderation. This means not more than 2 drinks per day for men and 1 drink per day for women.
  • 1 drink is the equivalent of:
    • 340ml beer
    • 120ml wine
    • 60ml sherry
    • 25ml spirits
  • Consuming more than the above mentioned amounts increases your health risks, such as high blood pressure and stroke.
  • Though some studies have indicated that moderate alcohol consumption may have a positive effect on health in some populations (such as a small increase in the good cholesterol), there are other conventional methods like exercise that one can make use of in order to obtain these potential benefits3.

CONCLUSION

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in our country and the worldwide. Making changes to your diet is one way that you can prevent heart disease. Eating healthily does not mean compromising on taste! There are loads of recipes that you can choose from to make your meals healthy and tasty. FUTURELIFE® products can also fit into a heart-healthy diet.

 

WHERE DOES FUTURELIFE® FIT IN?

Following a healthy diet is great, but you won’t achieve optimal results for your health if you don’t receive the right balance of nutrition from all food groups. FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ offers complete nutrition with an internationally recommended blend of energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as 21 vitamins and minerals delivering 50% of your daily requirements for all vitamins and most minerals. It also contains additional functional ingredients including fibre, inulin (prebiotic) and MODUCARE® (a daily immune supplement). Try out one of the 4 delicious flavours as your next meal, shake or smoothie, you’re guaranteed to love it!

 

REFERENCES

  1. http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P03093/P030932013.pdf.
  2. http://www.heartfoundation.co.za/