A diet for overweight heart patients can compliment a drug intervention methodology for reducing weight or can be implemented on it's own without the use of diet pills. However, heart patients must educate themselves as to the effects of various foods on their health condition.
The Heart and Fats
Doctors recommend that heart patients eat less fatty foods, especially reducing saturated and hydrogenated fat intake. Saturated fats form LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol. However, the fatty acids known as Omega-3s are important to optimal heart health. To help keep the lining of your arteries clean, increase the following foods which reduce platelet clumping.
- Food containing fatty acids from omega 3 family - vegetable source
- Food containing fatty acids found in fish and cod liver oil
More About Omega 3's
As you can see above, Omega 3's are available from two sources:
- Marine Omega 3s
- Vegetal Omega 3s
Each of these sources provides different benefits in the diet for overweight heart patients. Marine Omega 3s are known as "long-chain" Omega 3s and are solely found in fish or algae. These provide key components for cell membranes and play an important role in heart health. The Vegetal Omega 3s can be found in things like nuts and seeds or the oil extracted from them. Flaxseed oil is one of the best sources for Vegetal Omega 3s. Other sources include:
- Soy Oil
- Canola Oil
Heart Health and Vitamin K
Surprisingly enough, just as onions and garlic can work to help keep your arteries clear, foods high in vitamin K can affect your heart health in a negative way. Prothrombin is one of the clotting factors manufactured by the liver, and vitamin K is needed to produce prothrombin along with other clotting factors. Because of this, heart patients should avoid foods high in vitamin K. They don't need to be removed from the diet completely if the patient is taking an anticoagulant like Warfarin of Coumadin, but should still be avoided in large quantities. Foods high in vitamin K include:
High Sources of Vitamin K
- Turnip Greens
Moderate Sources of Vitamin K
Diet for Overweight Heart Patients
One factor in a diet for heart patients, whether overweight or not, will be making food choices that help in lowering cholesterol. Too much cholesterol in the blood causes build up in artery walls and causes atherosclerosis. This means that the arteries narrow, slowing blood flow to the heart muscle. The artery can become totally blocked and stop the blood flow. If the supply is cut off totally, you will have a heart attack. Saturated fat, trans fat and foods high in cholesterol promote elevated cholesterol levels.
A heart healthy diet promoting reduced amounts of food containing these fats and cholesterol will lower your cholesterol level, and reduce your risk of blocked arteries. However, these factors can also raise your cholesterol:
- Being Overweight
- Lack of exercise (Try to be physically active for 30 minutes a day)
- Age and Gender
- Medications - Some medications like steroids might raise bad cholesterol levels and decrease the good cholesterol
Diet Plans for Overweight Heart Patients
Because being overweight increases the risks of heart attack and heart disease, losing weight is one way to promote better heart health. There are a variety of diets and books to help inform and grant guidance in losing weight, but there are just as many fad diets that could do you more harm than good. Before you begin any diet or exercise program, it is important that you consult with your doctor. Your doctor knows your condition and medical history and will know whether or not the diet will work for you. Here are a few well-known diets for overweight heart patients:
For more information on how to lose weight check with your doctor. Remember, it's not just about the diet. It's about a new lifestyle. Get it? Lifestyle. If you want to be healthy, you need to live healthy.