Healthy Diets for Heart & Diabetes Disease

Heart disease and diabetes are two conditions that require special attention through diet. Heart disease is a broad term that includes several diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels including coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and defects people are born with (congenital heart defects), according to the Mayo Clinic. Diabetes is a medical term that encompasses several conditions. These diseases affect how the body metabolizes glucose, and they include Type 1, Type 2, gestational and pre-diabetes. For those suffering from these diseases, healthy diet choices are the key to optimum health.

  1. Establish a Plan

    • Establish a plan for success. Heart disease and diabetes offer challenges that can be overcome with a little planning. Planning helps avoid situations where temptation might win. For those with diabetes, planning is critical because of glucose levels. Glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol are areas that should be monitored by everyone, but especially by diabetics. The most important aspect of a diabetic diet is healthy choices. Every healthy choice "reduces risk for complications such as heart disease and stroke," states the American Diabetic Association. Diabetics require a consistent diet because the body can react to dietary changes with adverse rises in blood sugar. Counting carbohydrates is important for diabetics because carbohydrates raise glucose levels. The ADA recommends planning on 45 to 60 carbohydrates with meals. This amount can be modified for each individual, but this strategy is critical to managing diabetes.

    Think Low

    • Think low when it comes to saturated and trans fats, sodium and cholesterol. Doing this works toward optimum health by controlling conditions including blood pressure, weight and cholesterol. Those with diabetes and heart disease should also limit their intake of saturated and trans fats for the same reasons, reports the ADA. Focus on monounsaturated (polyunsaturated) fats, which can be found in avocados, olive and canola oil, nuts, seeds, omega-3 fish oils and fish. For those with heart disease or diabetes, fish should be consumed twice a week for optimum benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic.

    Think Fresh

    • Think fresh food and fill your kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables. For those with heart disease and diabetes, this is sound advice because these fresh foods help control weight, blood pressure and cholesterol, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fruits and vegetables are excellent food choices because they have plenty of vitamins and minerals, many are good sources of fiber, and they are low in calories. Selecting recipes with vegetable or fruits as the primary ingredient is wise for everyone but especially so for those with heart disease and diabetes.

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