What Are the Best Diets for Your Heart?
March is National Nutrition Month in Canada, and this year’s theme is “Unlock the Potential of Food.” It’s the perfect time to look into diets that are good for your heart.
The Canadian Cardiovascular Society suggests three diets for a healthier heart: the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH Diet, and the Portfolio Diet.
The Mediterranean Diet
Picture a meal full of colorful veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and fish. That’s the Mediterranean Diet for you.
Studies have proven that it not only keeps your heart healthy but also lowers the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
The DASH Diet
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, which is a fancy way of saying it helps lower high blood pressure.
This diet encourages you to eat lots of fruits, veggies, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, while cutting back on red meats and added sugars.
The Portfolio Diet
This diet was born in Canada and is all about lowering bad cholesterol. It leans heavily on plant proteins like soy and legumes, as well as whole grains, nuts, and healthy oils like olive and canola oil.
Small Changes, Big Impact
You don’t have to go full-on vegetarian to reap the benefits of these diets. Even small changes can lower your risk of heart disease. The point is to eat more plants, but you can still have some animal products if you like.
Easy Strategies to Make the Change
Start Small: Pick a goal that’s easy to reach. For example, maybe swap out meat for plant protein like tofu or beans for your Monday lunches. Research shows that setting a goal you’re 90% sure you can achieve is the best way to make lasting changes.
Be Smart About Swaps: Instead of saying “I won’t eat sugar,” try substituting something healthier. For example, opt for low-sodium soup or fill half your plate with veggies, as recommended by Canada’s Food Guide and Diabetes Canada.
Make It Personal: Link your diet goals to something that matters to you. Maybe cook a veggie-based meal with a friend or family member. If it’s important to you, you’re more likely to stick with it.
Seek Professional Help
Changing how you eat can be a big task, and you don’t have to do it alone. Health experts like dietitians and psychologists can help you tailor your diet to what you need and like.
Just ask your doctor for a referral, and your insurance might even cover it.
So, why not use National Nutrition Month as an opportunity to unlock the potential of food for better heart health? Your heart will thank you for it.
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