A cardiac diet is important for people suffering from high cholesterol or heart problems. A cardiac diet should consist of heart healthy foods which are low in saturated fat, sodium, trans-fat and cholesterol. Heart patients should consume less than 2,000 mg of sodium per day. The low-sodium foods included in their daily diet should have 140 mg or less of sodium per serving. The fat intake should be reduced to 25% to 35% of total calories, with 7% from saturated fat and 1% or less from trans-fat in a cardiac diet. Low-fat foods normally contain less than 3 g of fat per serving. The daily intake of high cholesterol foods should be kept to 300 mg or less. Heart disease or high cholesterol patients should further reduce their daily cholesterol intake to 200 mg. Low-cholesterol food options in cardiac diet are ones with 20 mg or less of cholesterol, and 2 g or less of saturated fat, per serving.
Watchful grocery shopping and meal planning can help one create a cardiac diet full of flavour and different foods. In a cardiac diet, the heart patient should ideally start their day with steel cut oats for breakfast. The soluble fiber in oatmeal reduces the levels of the bad cholesterol, LDL, by slowing down its absorption into the bloodstream. About 1 ½ of oatmeal contains around 6 gm of fiber and 5 to 10 gm of soluble fiber should be consumed every day to maintain good heart health. Read further to know what to eat on a cardiac diet for lunch and dinner.
What to Eat on a Cardiac Diet for Lunch?
A healthy lunch in a cardiac diet is one which is low in fat, sodium and cholesterol. People who like eating sandwiches can choose to have whole-grain bread, topped with low-sodium luncheon meat and vegetables like tomato, lettuce and red onion for a healthy cardiac lunch. A cardiac diet for lunch can also have salads with lean chicken, with their favourite fruits and veggies added in it. Fat-free, low-sodium salad dressing which contains less than 0.5 grams of fat and 140 mg or less of sodium per serving can be added in the salad. The leafy green Kale is called a superfood because it has got a bit of almost every nutrient, like fiber, omega-3s, and antioxidants. This vegetable also contains a compound known as glucoraphanin, which can help prevent plaque from accumulating in the arteries and keep the heart issues at bay. Steamed kale is especially good for cardiac patients. To derive maximum heart-healthy effects from kale, this vegetable should be steamed to allow the fiber compounds bind together. Not only does this process help to bring out kale’s cholesterol-lowering abilities, but also makes this leafy green taste a little less bitter than when eaten raw. About 1½ cup of steamed kale should be eaten for lunch in a cardiac diet, along with other cruciferous veggies, 2 to 3 times in a week, to keep the heart in good shape. Planning ahead or packing a healthy cardiac lunch can help one resist the urge for eating fast food. When planning to eat out during lunch time, cardiac patients should always check the nutrition information for the menu before time.
What to Eat on a Cardiac Diet for Dinner?
By having home cooked food, cardiac patients can keep a tap of their dietary intake of salt, fat and cholesterol. People suffering from cardiac ailments can eat fish, fresh beef or pork or skinless poultry for dinner as part of their cardiac diet. Most seafood, especially salmon, is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which help to prevent heart disease caused due to aging. Studies have found that younger people who do not eat fish and other sources of omega-3s face the greatest risk of developing cardiac conditions. So oily fishes like sardines, salmon anchovies, or rainbow trout that are rich in omega-3 should be eaten by heart patients. About 2 servings of the fish should be eaten every week on a cardiac diet for lunch or dinner by these people to keep their heart healthy. People, who do not eat seafood, can have non-meat sources of protein like, soy textured protein and beans without added salt for dinner. Whole grain foods like whole-grain pasta, quinoa or brown rice can also be added to the meal, while freshly steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, or asparagus can be eaten as healthy side dishes. Ones who like drinking milk with their dinner should choose to have skimmed milk to reduce their fat intake. Adding salt during cooking or while eating should be avoided by cardiac patients.
What to Have for Dessert in Cardiac Diet?
Dark chocolate is not just a delicious treat for the sweet tooth, but has also proven helpful in lowering blood pressure by improving heart function and increasing blood flow in the body. Dark chocolate has a higher ratio of cocoa and lower sugar and fat content than milk chocolate. So a square of dark chocolate per day can be eaten as desserts in a cardiac diet post dinner to derive heart-healthy benefits.