5. Choose mostly protein sources that are beneficial for heart health
Preferred protein sources are vegetable proteins (nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, tempeh, edamame, seitan, TVP), fish, seafood, and low-fat dairy products. Eating two to three servings of fish per week, provided it is not fried, is associated with a reduced risk of CVD. If you want to eat meat or poultry, choose lean cuts and limit processed meats such as deli meats, bacon and sausage.
6. Engage in regular physical activity
Regular physical activity is beneficial for heart health even in the absence of weight loss. An increase in physical activity can have a major impact on the increase of “good” HDL cholesterol.
Perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or at least 60 minutes per week of high-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, preferably spread over the whole week
Also perform moderate to vigorous intensity muscle strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups, at least twice a week
7. Maintain a healthy weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight throughout one’s life is an important part of reducing CVD risk. For people who are overweight, a weight loss of about 10% of overall body weight can have a significant favorable effect on lipid profile and cardiovascular disease risk.
8. Increase your intake of sterols/stanols
Plant sterols are substances naturally present in small amounts of foods of plant origin. Stanols are present in trace amounts in the same foods and result from the hydrogenation of sterols during processing into commercial products. Sterols and stanols help decrease cholesterol absorption and therefore LDL cholesterol levels. Studies show that consuming 2g of sterols/stanols per day can lower LDL cholesterol by 5 to 15%. It is not possible to reach this dose through food consumption, but it is possible to take a supplement.
In conclusion, it is essential to choose minimally processed foods rather than ultra-processed foods and to cook more. SOSCuisine offers cardiovascular health meal plans based on the Mediterranean diet, which has long been recognized for its protective effects against CVD.
OMS (2022) Les 10 principales causes de mortalité. https://www.who.int/fr/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/the-top-10-causes-of-death
Litchtenstein et coll (2021) 2021 Dietary Guidance to Improve Cardiovascular Health: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation; 144 :e472-e487.
National Lipid Association (2020). Clinician’s Lifestyle Modification Toolbox. https://www.lipid.org/clmt
American College of Sports Medicine (2022) Trending Topic | Physical Activity Guidelines. https://www.acsm.org/education-resources/trending-topics-resources/physical-activity-guidelines
Rideout, Marinangeli et Awad (2012) Regulatory Approval of Plant Sterols in Canada: Implications for Health Care and Clinical Practice. Can J Diet Pract Res 2012; 73:31-34.
Carson et coll. (2020) Dietary cholesterol and cardiovascular risk: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation;141:e39–e53.
Kathryn completed degrees in kinesiology and nutrition, as well as a Masters in Sports Nutrition. She is a member of OPDQ and of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She ran track and cross-country at a national level. Kathryn specializes in sports nutrition, weight loss, diabetes, as well as heart and gastrointestinal health. Kathryn is experienced with the low FODMAP diet and she completed the Monash University low FODMAP dietitian's training.
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