Cardiac Diet for Coronary Artery Disease

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Enjoying a cardiac diet for coronary heart disease can be tasty as well as nutritious. You need to know the proper cardiac healthy foods to eat and the health-hindering food choices to avoid. Eating a cardiac diet will have you live a healthier lifestyle.

Cardiac Promoting Food Choices

A cardiac diet for coronary heart disease is low in fat, high in fiber, low in cholesterol and high in antioxidants. According to the American Heart Association, the cardiac diet consists of eating heart healthy foods. Heart healthy foods that are high in fiber include whole grains, legumes, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Healthy promoting whole grains consist of barley, oats, quinoa, millet, kamut and whole wheat. Fiber-rich legumes include kidney beans, lentils, split peas, navy beans, garbanzo beans and black beans. Fiber helps eliminate, or prevent, plaque from attaching to the arteries. Foods low in cholesterol and high in antioxidants can be picked from gardens. Fresh fruits and vegetables are low in cholesterol and are antioxidant rich. Low-fat dairy products are also considered heart healthy. Many times, foods found in the cardiac diet for coronary heart disease are called super foods since they provide so many health benefits due to being both fiber and nutrient rich. Foods containing plant sterols (such as soy foods) are also considered heart healthy foods.

Cardiac Hindering Food Choices

While it is important to know what heart healthy food choices are available, it also is wise to be aware of poor food choices that need to be limited or eliminated, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Foods that contain saturated and/or trans fat need to be eliminated or severely limited. So do foods that are high in cholesterol. Foods listed as being high in saturated fat and cholesterol by the USDA include organ meats such as kidneys and livers; eggs; deep fried foods; red meats including lamb, beef, pork and veal; whole fat dairy products; cheesecakes, cream pies, pecan pies and boxed cake mixes. Watch out for foods that are prepared in commercial bakeries since they contain trans fat and are harmful for a cardiac diet. Sources of trans fat are partially hydrogenated oils, solid fats and shortening. Trans fat is used to prepare pies, cookies, cakes, breads, energy bars and pastries. Avoid eating white flour since it is not beneficial to a heart healthy diet.

Restaurant Eating

For meals not eaten at home, there are ways to still benefit by eating a cardiac diet for coronary heart disease. Ask to have your meat prepared using a low-fat cooking method such as grilling, steaming, poaching or baking without added oils. Low-fat cooking preparations are recommended by both the USDA and the American Heart Association. If you desire something that is not on the menu, ask about it. Order salad dressings on the side so you control the amount. Order salsa instead of cream sauces. Ask for butters containing plant sterols. Eat egg whites instead of the entire egg. Request low-fat options.

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References

  • 2008 Guide to Heart Healthy Living; Are you at Risk for a Heart Attack? Team Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, 2009
  • USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20, USDA, 2008
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