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  • Elaine Zhang, Dietitian

How to lower our risks of cardiovascular diseases?

Cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart diseases have been affecting many of us or our loved ones. There are many risk factors for increasing risks of cardiovascular diseases, and high cholesterol is one of them!


Canadian Health Measures Survey shows that 41% of Canadian adults had a high cholesterol level! Many of us are not aware that our cholesterol is high unless we get that checked in a blood test. So consult your doctor to do routine bloodwork and screen for these risk factors. Making sure our cholesterol level is within a safe and normal range is important!


Do you know your diet can affect your cardiovascular diseases risks?


Here are some dietary tips:


1. Minimize trans fat intake.


Trans fat can found in many processed food items such as pastries, cakes, fast food and deep fried foods.


Trans fat can increase our LDL, which is the "bad" cholesterol and also decrease our HDL, which is the "good" cholesterol.



2. Minimize saturated fat intake.


Saturated fat are usually found in animal meat products. Try to remove visible fat from animal meat such as beef and pork. And try to remove the skin on poultry before eating.


Too much dietary intake of saturated fat can increase our LDL level. So if you a meat lover, make sure to have a good portion control!



3. Increase fiber intake.


Do you know many North Americans are not meeting our daily fiber requirement?


Food rich in fiber includes vegetables, fruit, beans, lentils, nuts and whole grains.


Ensuring adequate amount of fiber in our diet, especially soluble fiber can help with reducing our LDL.



4. Getting adequate amount of omega 3

Omega 3 has been getting lots of attention nowadays. There have been many researches showing omega-3 can help to lower our risks of cardiovascular diseases and benefit our heart health! Omega 3 is essential fatty acid required by our body.


Here are some food source:

  • Fishes are excellent food sources! Salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, they are low in mercury but high in omega 3.

  • Plant-based food such as flaxseeds and walnuts are rich in ALA, which can be converted to EPA and DHA (omega 3) in our body!

  • What's more, you can also choose omega-3 eggs to help you increase your omega 3 intake in your diet!

5. Last but not least, having healthy and well balanced meals overall are the key to prevent cardiovascular diseases!


Contact Elaine, the dietitian if you have more questions about lowering your cholesterol level!


Reference:

Canadian Health Measures Survey: Cholesterol and vitamin D levels. Retrieved from https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/100323/dq100323a-eng.htm

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