To keep your heart in the pink there are certain fats that you should eat and others that you should avoid like the plague! Contrary to the popularly held belief, here is a little fact that you must keep in mind: all fats are not bad for the heart; in fact, some types of fats should definitely be included in your heart healthy diet plan. Lowering your cholesterol levels requires a conscious dietary transformation: it’s time to understand the importance of adopting a heart healthy diet! To give you a heads up, the fats to avoid are trans-fat and saturated fats and the good fats which should make it to your heart healthy diet plan are unsaturated fats. Let’s explore these desirable and undesirable types of fats in a little more detail.
Did you know that there is good cholesterol and bad cholesterol? LDL (Low density lipo-protein) cholesterol is referred to as bad cholesterol since it is detrimental for your heart. A build up of LDL cholesterol causes plaque to accumulate in the arteries. This narrowing of the arteries increases the risk of suffering from a heart attack! HDL (high density lipo-protein) cholesterol is excellent for your heart! Including HDL cholesterol in your heart healthy diet plan can reverse the negative effects of LDL cholesterol. Good cholesterol does not build up inside your arteries instead it can easily be broken down by the liver and removed.
If you’re wondering what to cut out of your heart healthy diet plan start off with those delicious but oh-so-unhealthy food items that may taste amazing but only work towards debilitating your system! Yes, put that mouthwatering doughnut down, it has to go! Both trans-fat and saturated fats increase the LDL cholesterol levels in your body without benefitting you in anyway. Food labels that mention ‘reduced fat’ or ‘partially hydrogenated fat’ must be avoided as these labels are an indication of the presence of trans-fat. Limit the consumption of food items such as fried foods, butter, bacon and margarine.
So what exactly should you include in your heart healthy diet plan? Unsaturated fats are the best type of heart healthy fats. Moreover, controlled quantities of monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are also a great way to keep your heart healthy. Take some tips from the Mediterranean diet which is rich in sources of HDL cholesterol! Opt for olive oil or canola oil to keep your HDL cholesterol levels up. Research also indicates that dark chocolate might have a positive effect on the levels of good cholesterol in the body. Along with a heart healthy diet, research also indicates that exercise can work wonders to keep you hale and hearty! A weekly dose of 120 minutes of exercise is enough to keep your good cholesterol levels up.
Transforming your lifestyle to adopt a heart healthy diet plan may seem like a lot of work, but once you get into the flow of eating healthy food items you yourself will notice the difference! So here’s to feeling young, healthy and fit; here’s to adopting a heart healthy diet plan!