Along with controlling your blood glucose, caring for the health of your heart is at the top of the list when it comes to managing your diabetes. Your physician or diabetes educator may have mentioned the importance of blood cholesterol control. Here’s why! Preserving the ability of the small vessels of the heart to deliver oxygenated blood to the heart muscle is the idea behind lowering “bad cholesterol’, simply because we don’t want fatty cholesterol buildup developing on the inside of these vessels. Our heart muscle needs the best blood flow possible for it to work well, and we need that muscle to work well for every heart beat, every second of every day! Like the water pipes in your house, if the pipe has a buildup of sediment on the inside, the water flow will be too low.
Your physician or Dietitian may have spoken to you about lowering the saturated fat in your diet. Here are some essential facts to remember when considering healthy blood cholesterol.
1 World Health Organization recommends that saturated fat (fat that comes from animal fat or fried foods) should not exceed 10% of our daily energy intake. This means of all the foods we eat daily, saturated fat content should be a tiny portion of the total. For example, a serving of fried food or high-fat desserts or beverages could contain enough saturated fat for several days, so limit these foods in your diet and choose them less often.
2 Commercially prepared baked goods, fast food and frozen prepared foods are known as processed foods. Be mindful and aware of the saturated content of processed foods. Remember Canada’s Food Guide? Processed foods are not included in this essential guide for healthy eating. If you think your diet contains more processed foods than you think is right for you, return to Canada’s Food Guide principles to guide you to healthier eating.
3 The Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation put it simply, balance every meal. Include whole foods that are minimally processed. 1/2 of your plate should contain vegetables and fruit, ¼ protein (fish, beans, nuts, meat, tofu, yogurt) and the other ¼ should have brown rice, barley, quinoa, and high-fibre grains such as oats.
4 I couldn’t let this blog end here without reminding you of the importance of the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for heart health. 150 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week and 3 sessions of resistance exercise per week.
May good heart health be yours your whole life long!