All heart-healthy diets are low in fat and cholesterol while being high in fiber.
Vegetarian diets, on the other hand, are a natural choice for people looking to lower their risk of heart disease because they are naturally low in fat, cholesterol, and high in fiber! Eliminating meat, poultry, and fish from your diet, which is rich in fat and cholesterol and low in fiber, can be a huge step toward better heart health.
Increased eating of plant-based foods that are naturally high in fiber is another step that comes naturally to vegetarians. Antioxidant protection for the heart is also provided by plant-based diets, particularly fruits and vegetables.
For heart-healthy vegetarian meals, the following guidelines from www.d-vegetarian.com are recommended:
Foods can be sautéed in water or a small bit of olive or canola oil. Because they help lower cholesterol levels in the blood, olive and canola oils are considered the healthiest oils. For heart health, low-fat cooking methods are also recommended. Broiling, steaming, roasting, baking, poaching, boiling, and stir-frying with little or no oil are examples of these procedures. You can also try substituting water, juice, applesauce, or puréed prunes for some of the oil, butter, or margarine in recipes. Fried foods, especially deep-fried dishes, are never suggested for people who are concerned about their heart health.
Because egg yolks are high in cholesterol, entire eggs can easily be substituted in most recipes with bananas, tofu, applesauce, or egg replacers. You can also use the white of another egg in place of the yolk. If a recipe calls for one egg, for example, use two egg whites and discard the yolks.
Buy plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fat-free or reduced-fat milk products while shopping for ingredients for heart-healthy meals. Frozen veggies should not be served with cheese, cream, or butter sauces. Look at the nutrition labels of snack foods to see how much fat and cholesterol they have. Popcorn, fresh fruits and veggies, rice cakes, and pretzels are the ideal snacks. Many chips that are normally heavy in fat are also available in lower fat baked variants.
Fiber aids in the removal of cholesterol from the bloodstream, which is why high-fiber diets are considered heart-healthy. Choose whole-grain pieces of bread and cereals to increase fiber intake and reduce processed (white) bread and cereals. Limit your intake of sugary baked foods like croissants and muffins, which are heavy in fat and poor in fiber.
Eating out might be particularly difficult for vegetarians and individuals who are concerned about their heart health. It can be made easier by following a few easy principles. Choose stir-fried meals, steamed veggies, and tomato-sauced pasta, for example. Choose vegetable-based soups and baked potatoes without butter or cheese. Avoid salad dressings that contain mayonnaise, and always ask for dressings and sauces to be served on the side so you can control how much you eat.
Monounsaturated fats are typically considered beneficial for the heart, but saturated and trans fats should be avoided. Another natural benefit for vegetarians concerned about heart health is that saturated fats are usually found in animal sources. However, because coconut, palm, and palm kernel oil include saturated fats, they should be avoided in a heart-healthy diet. Margarine and many baked goods contain trans fats, which may contribute to the development of heart disease. Canola oil, olive oil, flax seed oil, almonds, avocado, soy, and nut butter are all monounsaturated fats that are excellent for the heart.
A vegetarian diet that incorporates soy products may provide additional heart-health benefits.
Many studies have linked soy products including tofu, soymilk, and soy yogurt to decrease the incidence of heart disease. 25 grams of soy protein per day is the standard recommendation.
Vegans do not need to be concerned about cholesterol in their diet because cholesterol is only found in animal-derived foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. Natural cholesterol-free foods include grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and vegetable oil. Only vegetarian foods, on the other hand, include heart-healthy fiber. Oats, carrots, fruits, and beans are particularly high in the type of fiber that aids in lowering blood cholesterol levels.
The eBook Vegetarian Cooking is a fantastic resource if you want more detailed suggestions for a heart-healthy vegetarian diet. The book, which can be found at www.d-vegetarian.com, lists heart-healthy nutrients as well as which foods contain them and in what amounts. There are also dozens of other topics on the site that cover every aspect of the vegetarian lifestyle and its advantages.
Jen Scott is the creator of the popular new website www.d-vegetarian.com, which is dedicated to informing people about the advantages of living a more vegetarian diet.
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