What Are Clogged Arteries?
Clogged arteries occur when the arteries of one’s body build up with fats, cholesterol and excess calcium. This is caused by a number of factors, yet a poor diet, or a diet rich in unhealthy foods, is believed to be a leading cause. If you have been diagnosed with clogged arteries, a change in lifestyle, including a diet for blocked arteries and regular exercise, is key to successfully slowing and managing the disease. Moreover, if you smoke, stop now.
Things To Consider When Making Heart-Healthy Choices
First and foremost, a diagnosis of clogged arteries does not mean a change to a diet consisting of bland and boring foods. On the contrary, with education and greater awareness of the types of foods to avoid, as well as foods rich in heart healthy nutritional qualities, you will create a diet for blocked arteries that is not only enjoyable, but easy to stick with. In other words, knowing why you eat something is as important as knowing what to eat.
Basic Cholesterol Facts
Cholesterol consists of LDLs, HDLs and triglycerides. By reducing and more carefully monitoring cholesterol intake, you are creating a more heart-healthy and balanced diet. This is because many foods that are high in cholesterol also contain high amounts of LDLs - the bad cholesterol - and are contributing to the creation of arterial plaque. These foods include anything deep fried, as well as butter and hard margarines. Also, many rich desserts are high in LDLs. The American Heart Association indicates that one should not consume more than 300 milligrams of dietary cholesterol per day.
When choosing foods and considering cholesterol, look for foods that do not contain trans fats or saturated fats. By taking this simple extra step, you really do your heart some good.
Years ago, a diagnosis of clogged arteries meant the removal of all fat from the diet. This meant not only a substantial dietary challenge, but for some, a huge emotional challenge trying to navigate through a fat-free food world. Nowadays, the reality of good fat vs. bad fat is more clear. While it is true that fat intake needs to be carefully monitored, it is equally clear there are fats necessary to overall health. Understanding the difference is key.
Fats found in fish and nuts, for example contain omega-3 fatty acids and are heart friendly. Therefore, eating fish and nuts is a great start toward a healthier heart. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, found in canola and peanut oils, are a preferred form of fat and though they should be used sparingly, are clearly better than saturated fats.
Protein: Friend or Foe?
Protein is a key component to maintaining good health. Unfortunately, protein can also be found in foods containing large quantities of fat. Since fish is a beneficial source of omega-3 fatty acids, and is also an excellent source of protein, it satisfies many of the necessary components needed for a healthier heart.
Protein is also found in meat and dairy products, however these foods should be carefully monitored with respect to fat content. Care should be used in choosing leaner sources of protein, and consuming a variety of protein sources is best.
Remember the Basics:
As with any nutritional program, care should be given to portion size, sodium intake, proper hydration, and exercise. A few simple tips to achieve these goals include:
- Keep plenty of fruits and vegetables readily available in your refrigerator
- Always have lots of water on hand to ensure proper hydration. Try some decaffeinated teas for additional variety - be careful not to overuse sugar
- Walk with a friend. After checking with your physician, begin an exercise program. It will help to reduce appetite and relieve excess stress.
- Remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Take time out to eat. Enjoy the experience of eating. Stressful meals are not healthful to you or your heart. Whenever possible, take the time - to take the time - to eat.
A Meal Is Meant To Be Enjoyed
Whether you are dining over a delicious grilled salmon steak with lemon pepper glaze, surrounded by cucumber slices, broiled cherry tomatoes and a side of citrus salad, or a power lunch of marinated cauliflower and broccoli salad with slivered almonds and dried cranberries, served on a bed of romaine lettuce with a tangy vinaigrette dressing, the key to a healthier heart is enjoying what you eat, for the experience as well as the health benefit.