Dietary and nutrition tips for heart health

Dietary and nutrition tips for heart health

A heart healthy diet, like the Pritikin Eating Plan, is focused around hearty foods that are naturally low in calorie density and high in nutritional value. That's good for your heart and waistline!

Although some risk factors for heart disease may be inherent or unavoidable, nutrition and weight are two factors that you do have influence over.

Heart health tips

When it comes to taking care of your heart, adhering to a proper diet and achieving and maintaining a healthy weight are two of the most important things you can do to prevent disease. Following a healthy eating plan that includes many nutrient-rich foods and limits unhealthy, artery-clogging foods is crucial. Equally as important for improving heart health is losing excess body weight. A lifestyle of daily exercise and a diet that focuses on fiber-rich, unrefined carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains is the best way to achieve this.

With cooking classes at Pritikin, you'll learn how easy it can be to eat and cook healthy at home!

With cooking classes at Pritikin, you’ll learn how easy it can be to eat and cook healthy at home!

The Pritikin Eating Plan, for example, is focused around healthy foods that are naturally low in calorie density and high in nutritional value. It includes a wide range of unprocessed, or minimally processed foods. It cautions or limits food that has been shown to increase the risk of a number of health issues such as hypertension, heart disease, high blood cholesterol and high blood sugar. This eating plan has not only been shown to encourage weight loss, but to also prevent and control some of the nation’s leading health concerns. Most importantly, it’s filling, satisfying and delicious.

Foods to limit or avoid

The majority of heart-related diseases are a result of built-up plaque or cholesterol in the inner walls of the arteries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is called atherosclerosis. If and when this plaque ruptures, it has the potential to cause major blood clots, blocking the flow of blood to the heart and causing a heart attack. There are a number of reasons including genes and complications that can have the potential to clog arteries. However, there are three dietary factors clogging arteries that you can control on your own, asserted the Pritikin Scientific Advisory Board.

Dietary cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats clog arteries. For that reason, it is advised that all saturated fats, partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, processed meats, organ meats and cholesterol-rich foods, be avoided whenever possible. This is in line with the American Heart Association’s recommendation to limit trans fat, saturated fat, sugar-sweetened drinks, sodium, red meat and sweets. Consuming red meat once a month is OK, however it is important to compare and understand all labels to ensure you’re selecting the leanest cut available.

Dietary and nutrition tips for heart health

Avoiding foods high in saturated and trans fats is essential for a heart-healthy diet.

Limit these foods:

  • Red meat
  • Oils
  • Salt
  • Refined sweeteners such as sugar, corn syrup and honey
  • Refined grains such as white bread, pasta and white rice

Avoid these foods altogether:

  • Tropical oils like coconut oil
  • Fatty meats
  • Egg yolks
  • Dairy products , such as cheese, cream and whole or low fat milk

Best foods for heart health

The University of Maryland Medical Center outlined the key diet guidelines for best heart health. The primary takeaway, is to limit food and drinks that are low in nutrients and high in calories, while maintaining a balanced diet packed with high-fiber, nutrient-rich foods. Foods that are high in nutrients contain protein, whole grains and minerals that are essential for your health and may aid in controlling cholesterol, blood pressure and even weight, concluded the AHA.

Essentially, making healthy choices when it comes to food is the crux of eating right for your heart.

Here is a list of the best foods to consume for your heart:

  • A variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Whole grains rich in fiber, such as whole-wheat bread and pasta, oatmeal and brown rice.
  • Starchy vegetables.
  • Legumes and soy-based foods, like edamame and tofu.
  • Lean calcium options, such as fat-free, low-fat and nonfat dairy items.
  • Lean protein sources, including skinless white poultry and lean red meat like bison and venison.

As is mentioned time and again, making the right food choices for your heart does not have to be boring and it certainly does not have to lack flavor. At Pritikin, you will learn all of the secrets to heart-healthy cooking and eating. As a bonus in the meantime, here are two satisfying and delicious recipes for nutrient-rich appetizers.

Print Recipe
Crispy Potato Skins
One crispy (or rather, greasy) potato skin at a restaurant is often 400 calories and more (and who stops at just one?) These yummy Pritikin-style Crispy Potato Skins are only about 120 calories - for 4 skins!
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Yields 16 potato skins
Ingredients
Crispy Potato Skins
Homemade Seasoning Mix
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
Yields 16 potato skins
Ingredients
Crispy Potato Skins
Homemade Seasoning Mix
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
Rate this recipe!
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This recipe has been added to your Meal Plan
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. If not using Pritikin All-Purpose Seasoning, prepare Homemade Seasoning Mix and set aside.
  3. Slice each potato into quarters lengthwise. Holding knife parallel to cutting board, remove most of flesh from skin, leaving about ¼-inch of flesh.
  4. Place potato skins in large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to boil and cook until softened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove skins from water and drain well.
  5. Lightly mist nonstick baking pan with canola oil cooking spray.
  6. Place potatoes in a single layer, flesh side up, on baking pan. Sprinkle potato skins with seasoning mixture.
  7. Roast potato skins in oven until crisp and golden, 30 to 45 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Enjoy these very healthy Crispy Potato Skins alone, or dip them in fat-free sour cream, low-sodium salsa, or your favorite Pritikin salad dressing.

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Creamy Salsa Dip
Here’s something semi-Pritikin for guests at your party who crave "creamy" but don’t need to go as low (in terms of both health and flavor) as Velveeta.
Creamy Salsa Pritikin Recipe
Votes: 1
Rating: 4
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
half-cup servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Servings
half-cup servings
Ingredients
Creamy Salsa Pritikin Recipe
Votes: 1
Rating: 4
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Instructions
  1. Mix by hand all ingredients, except for 1 tablespoon of green onions (which will be used as garnish topping).
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