How to improve heart health by start eating vegetarian food

How to improve heart health

Thinking about giving up eating meat to become healthier for the heart? Reducing the intake of animal fats and plant sources of saturated fat can have a significant impact on reducing "bad" cholesterol that clogs the arteries, called LDL cholesterol, in the blood. Vegetarians can satisfy all your nutritional needs by eating a balanced diet.

How to improve heart health by start eating vegetarian food

  • Beans
  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Oils derived from plants such as olive, avocado, peanut and canola

Try a phased approach

If you've been a meat eater and a lifelong dairy, try introducing your new way of eating instead of trying to do it all at once. Some people think that gradual changes over time are easier to adopt and maintain. You can make a new change every week, every two weeks or whatever the best pace. Or try to go meatless once a week and gradually increase the number of days per week or every two weeks. Even if it seems that your progress is slow, know that you will reach your goal eventually, as long as you stay with it. For example, try first to eliminate red meat. The next step could be to eliminate dark meat, skin, and fat from poultry or eliminate poultry together - and so on. Be sure to replace the meat with lean vegetarian sources of protein, such as beans or legumes, tofu or soy products. Nuts are also a good source of protein but are high in fat, so try limiting the nuts to about an ounce a day.

The importance of iron

One area that vegetarians need to pay attention to is the intake of iron. Vegetable sources of iron include dark leafy vegetables, beans, and iron-fortified vegan foods such as tofu, vegetarian burgers, and protein powders.  If you tend to be anemic, talk to your doctor about taking a daily iron supplement.

Choose the right fruits

All fruits and vegetables can fit into a healthy diet for the heart. Choose fresh fruits whenever possible and limit dried fruits, canned fruits, and juices. Berries such as blueberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries are among the lowest in sugar and the highest in fiber and nutritional content per serving. Melons, on the other hand, tend to be richer in sugar, so watch your intake of that fruit.  All fruits contain sugar, so choose smaller pieces of fruit or limit the serving to one cup per serving.

To freak out

Nuts are a good source of healthy fats and proteins so they will be an important source of nutrients for vegetarians. Almonds, hazelnuts, and walnuts have proven to be the most beneficial to the heart because they provide healthier fats. Peanuts and cashew nuts have a slightly higher level of saturated fat, but you can still include it in moderation. Avoid macadamia nuts and pecans because of their high levels of saturated fat and lower protein.

Low-fat dairy products are better

If you decide to be the type of vegetarian who eats milk and other dairy products, be aware that dairy products can be safely included in a healthy diet, provided you choose low-fat or partially-skimmed varieties. Keep in mind that dairy products carry saturated fat, so if you are eating heart healthy, you will want to minimize the intake of these foods. A milk alternative, such as almond or walnut or cashew milk, contains no saturated fat or contains too little. Therefore, this alternative milk could be a better choice if you are trying to decrease the animal products from your diet.

Avoid starchy vegetables

Among vegetables, dark leafy vegetables have a more favorable nutritional profile. Then choose spinach, cabbage, Swiss chard, broccoli rabe or lettuce when you can. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, and corn are less recommended because of the higher carbohydrate content and lower nutrient content per serving. It's okay to eat regularly but in moderation. With vegetables as well as fruits, try eating a wide variety of colors to ensure you are getting a wide range of nutrients. The darker or brighter the color, the better.