Is Your Diet, Heart Healthy?

Is your diet heart healthyResearchers at the CDC, Emory and Harvard have just concluded a study showing a clear link between increased sugar consumption and death from cardiovascular disease.  The study suggests that if your diet consists of 25% sugar, including the often overlooked sugar in processed foods, you are twice as likely to die from heart related issues.  This is a wake up call for Americans, similar to the one linking cigarettes and heart disease.  It will likely require a similar national campaign to raise awareness, especially in nutritionally underserved/challenged communities.

Which nutritional plans are the most heart healthy?  Here is the U.S. News and World Report’s top 5 picks for 2014:

  1. Ornish Diet:  An extremely low fat, high fiber diet said to be best at reversing heart disease, lowering blood pressure and reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
  2. TLC Diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet):  The National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) diet aimed at lowering cholesterol.  It endorses the prevailing wisdom of nutritional plan heavy in fruits, vegetables and whole grains that reduces saturated fats and salt intake.
  3. DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension):  Another NIH product focused on lowering blood pressure without the use medication.  It is a family friendly plan that is easy to maintain because there are few food group restrictions.
  4. Mediterranean Diet: The residents of this region are known to have a very low incidence of CVD tied to their food habits, which includes eschewing red meat in favor of fish and poultry, lots of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and spices.
  5. Engine 2 Diet:  A whole- food “plant-strong” nutritional plan created by a firefighter/tri-athlete.  As with other such diets, cost is a factor in sustaining the regimen since you usually pay more for fresh produce and non animal products.
  6. Vegan Diet: This is a lifestyle and philosophy more than a meal plan.  Vegans not only don’t eat animal products, they do not eat or use any products produced by living creatures, such as eggs, milk, honey, leather or fur. A longitudinal study showed that vegans had a 57%  lower risk of ischemic heart disease than meat-eaters.

These meal plans offer a range of lifestyle changes that can be implemented to varying degrees with beneficial results.  However, each recognizes that exercise is an essential component of any lifestyle change. Ready for a change of another sort?  Contact Centra at 800 535 0076 or download our mobile app for great employment opportunities!

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