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Cardiovascular Disease

Whole Green Health / Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular Disease -- What it is and how a Dietitian can help

When it comes to cardiovascular disease, the foods you eat can make a real difference. Dietitians are experts in helping you to identify foods to eat if you have cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad term used to describe conditions which affect the heart and blood vessels. Some common types of cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, stroke and heart failure.

Cardiovascular disease statistics in Australia are scary. It accounts for thousands of hospitalisations each day and is the leading cause of death in Australia (1).

There are many cardiovascular disease risk factors, some of which cannot be changed. This includes older age, gender, ethnicity and family history of the disease.

The good news is, there are also several cardiovascular disease risk factors which you can change – like smoking, drinking alcohol, movement of the body and the foods that you eat. Focusing on positive lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in lowering the dangers of cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular Disease Prevention

There are many things that you can do to protect your heart health, but it’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all approach. Everyone is different, and a dietitian can work with you to figure out what’s best for you and your body. You can breathe a sigh of relief – we are not the ‘food police’ and we won’t be imposing any strict diet rules on you!
Here are some of the things you might talk about with your dietitian:

Enjoy a wide variety of foods

Eating a range of foods from the five food groups every day helps to keep your body feeling nourished and energised. These include:

    • Bread, cereals, rice and pasta
    • Dairy and alternatives
    • Fruit
    • Vegetables
    • Meat and alternatives (eggs, tofu, nuts etc.)

Try including more heart-healthy foods

There are heaps of delicious choices which support heart health (hint: the ones listed below are just some of them!).

There’s plenty of ways to include more of these in your food and cooking – a Dietitian can support you in finding ways which suit your taste preferences and cooking abilities. The heart healthy foods list includes:

    • Fruit and vegetables: Fruit and veggies are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre which are shown to reduce the risk of CVD, but did you know that a lot of Australians aren’t eating enough of them? If you’re looking for some plant-based recipe inspiration, check out my breakfast recipe for Miso Mushrooms!
    • Fats: There are different types of fats, and some of them can protect your heart – these include olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocados and more.
    • Wholegrains: Foods like grainy bread and oats are not only great for your heart and cholesterol levels, they’re also satisfying and delicious.
    • Herbs and spices: Learn to flavour your foods with fragrant herbs and spices – there are so many different ones to try!

Find the joy in moving

Move your body in ways that you enjoy! Find activities that suit your skills and abilities and do what works for you. Joyful movement is about exploring, having fun and loving the wonderful things that your body can do.

Some days it may be easier to follow these suggestions than others, and that is okay. Working on your heart health is something that takes time.

If you would like individualised help with managing cardiovascular disease, give Dietitian Melissa a call on 0491 643 156 or make an appointment here.

References

  1. Heart Foundation. Heart disease in Australia [Internet]. Canberra: NHFA; 2020 May 06 [cited 2020 July 22]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/about-us/australia-heart-disease-statistics