GET TO THE HEART OF IT: Managing Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Diabetes

Healty Eating For A Healthy Heart


Plate Method


Control the Salt You Eat

  • Avoid seasonings that contain the words ‘salt’ or ‘sodium’. Examples are garlic salt, celery salt, sea salt, kosher salt, and monosodium glutamate (MSG).
  • Avoid salty and sauces such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, and soya sauce.
  • Flavour your foods with herbs and spices such as parsley, thyme, sage, fresh garlic or garlic powder, fresh onion or onion powder, ginger, lemon, and vinegar.
  • Drain the water from canned vegetables, because it contains salt. You can also rinse the canned vegetables with water to decrease the amount of salt.
  • Limit frozen and convenience foods and fast-food restaurant meals, which are all high in salt. With time, your taste buds will adjust to the natural flavours of food without added salt.

Control the Fats You Eat

  • Choose lower-fat foods.
  • Limit high-fat fried foods, chips, and pastries.
  • Limit saturated fats, such as animal fats. Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature, like butter and the skin on chicken.
  • Avoid trans fats, found in processed foods and in shortening.
  • Instead of frying in fat or oil, choose healthier cooking methods such as steaming, baking, poaching, broiling, grilling, and braising.

Control the Cholesterol You Eat

Limit food sources of cholesterol, such as egg yolks, liver, and shrimp.

Eat Lots of Fibre

There are two kinds of fibre: Insoluble fibre acts like a sponge. As food goes through the gut, it absorbs water, helping to move feces out and relieve constipation. Wheat bran and whole grains have lots of insoluble fibre. So do the skins of many fruits and vegetables. Seeds are also rich sources of insoluble fibre. The more the food has been refined or processed by milling, peeling, boiling or extracting, the less fibre it contains. Eat more unrefined foods to obtain insoluble fibre.

Soluble fibre breaks down as it passes though the digestive tract, forming a gel. This gel traps ‘bad’ cholesterol and keeps it out of the blood stream. This may lessen heart disease risks. Soluble fibre includes pectin used in making jelly and gums such as guar gum. It is found in oats, peas, beans, lentils, some seeds, brown rice, barley, oats, fruits (such as apples), some green vegetables (such as broccoli), and potatoes.

Choosing Vegetables and Fruits

  • Choose a variety of colours to get different nutrients.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables and fruit, if you can.
  • Avoid fruits packaged with sugary syrups
  • Avoid vegetables packaged with sugary syrups and pre-made sauces.

Choosing Grains & Starches

  • Choose grains and starches that are low on low on the Glycemic Index.
  • Choose grains and starches that are high in fibre.
  • Choose whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Prefer brown rice and long-grain rice to polished or white rice.

Choosing Milk, Milk Products, and Alternatives

  • Choose lower-fat milk, such as skim or 1%.
  • Choose low-fat yogurt and cheese.
  • Low-fat milk alternatives include soy milk and rice-based products.

Choosing Meat and Alternatives

  • Include fish in at least 2 meals per week.
  • Choose plant-based protein more often, such as tofu, lentils, beans and other legumes.
  • Choose lean meats. Trim off the fat. Remove the skin from poultry.
  • Choose lower-fat cheese with less than 20% milk fat (M.F.).