4 Best Diets For Heart Health
Heart health is often the last thing we think of – we are generally so focused on preventing cancer, and keeping our eyes peeled for the symptoms of diabetes we forget about the major organ that is pumping blood and keeping us alive. These diets are the right fit for anyone who is looking to improve their heart health or looking to be proactive about it.
The TLC Diet
The Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet comes from the National Institutes of Health's National Cholesterol Education Program, so you can rest easy knowing that the professionals are behind this. Its purpose is to reduce LDL cholesterol thus protecting your heart. The biggest aspect of it is reducing your saturated fat intake. Which means saying goodbye to fried food, fatty meats, and whole dairy products.
Calories for women are restricted to 1800 and 2500 for men with only 7% of total daily calories coming from fats (of the saturated sort).
The aim of DASH is to lower blood pressure and instill a healthy eating pattern. The idea is to increase your intake of the typically healthy foods, like fruits and vegetables, as the increase in potassium, protein, fiber, and calcium is key to driving cholesterol to a healthy level.
This plan was devised by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (http://dashdiet.org/default.asp). 2000 calories is the goal and you can ease into it slowly if it presents a big challenge or change to your regular diet. It really is all about choosing more of the right things to eat.
The Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet has been designed to fuel weight loss and as an aid to living a healthy lifestyle. The expectation is in the first two weeks you'll lose as much as 10 pounds and following that a steady weight loss of a pound every week. It's all about taking your bad habits and replacing them with a healthy one. The emphasis is on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
During the lose it stage of the diet alcohol is strictly forbidden, however, it can be reintroduced during the live it stage, though it is limited to 500 calories per week (http://diet.mayoclinic.org/diet/home).
The Mediterranean Diet
This diet wasn't devised by anyone – quite simply, it's the typical diet of people who live in the Mediterranean, in places like Spain, Greece, and Italy. The people in these countries tend to experience lower rates of heart disease and cancer, thus the diet has long been held up as the ideal for maintaining heart health and overall wellness.
It follows a diet that is high in fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, and olive oils and lower levels of red meat. It restricts sugars and saturated fats, while still allowing you to enjoy the deliciousness of food (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801).
It's important to note that part of each of these diets is getting plenty of exercise. The advice for each will vary, but the typical expectation for physical activity is finding time to work out for at least 20 minutes a day, and four days a week. You can start small and work your way up to 20 minutes if need be, but you will see a difference in no time.
Walking is a great way to fit your exercise in, but it's important to mix it up and do different types of exercise so your body doesn't get used to just one method.
The Mayo Clinic provides further advice on how to get the balance in your diet just right for heart health (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/heart-healthy-diet/art-20047702). You may find one of these diets is the right fit for you or choose to do a combination of each.