Women tend to be very concerned about cancer, particularly breast cancer, but because heart disease can so more fatal then anything we can do to reduce that risk can only be a good thing.
So paying attention to your diet, including the things that are good for your heart such as fruit and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy is a great start.
The unhealthiest combination
Over time, high amounts of salt, sugar, saturated fat, and refined carbohydrates raise your risk for a heart attack or stroke. If you’re worried about your heart, you’ll want to keep these to a minimum.
Start by avoiding or reducing the following.
More than half of bacon’s calories come from saturated fat, which can raise your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol, and boost your chance of a heart attack or stroke.
It’s often full of salt, which bumps up your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder. High amounts of sodium (the main part of salt) can lead to stroke, heart disease, and heart failure.
Bacon’s added preservatives are linked to these issues as well.
Eating too much beef, lamb, and pork may raise your odds for heart disease and diabetes. It may be because they’re high in saturated fat, which can boost cholesterol.
Limit your portions and look for lean cuts and extra-lean minced beef.
Carbonated soft drinks
Having small amounts of added sugar isn’t harmful, but a can of cola or an energy drink has more added sugar than experts recommend for a whole day.
if you drink a lot of these, you will tend to gain more weight and are more likely to be obese and have type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Please don’t think that low calorie or diet drinks are any better as some of these are also linked to weight gain and strokes.
if you can’t resist the fizz, stick to sparkling water with a little fruit juice or even some vanilla drops to give it a bit more flavour.
Biscuits, cakes, and muffins should be rare treats. They’re typically loaded with added sugar, which leads to weight gain.
They’re also linked to higher triglyceride levels, and that can lead to heart disease. Their main ingredient is usually white flour, which may spike your blood sugar and make you hungrier.
If baking at home, switch from white flour to wholemeal, reduce the sugar and try using liquid plant oils instead of butter or margarine.
Hot dogs, sausages, salamis, and luncheon meat have high amounts of salt, and most are high in saturated fat.
When it comes to cold meats, turkey and chicken are better because they don’t have the saturated fat of meats like salami but still have a fair amount of sodium.
White rice, bread, and pasta
Rice, bread, pasta, and snacks made from white flour are missing their healthy fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Refined grains quickly convert to sugar, which your body stores as fat.
A diet high in refined grains can cause belly fat, which studies link to heart disease and type 2 diabetes and this is unfortunately made worse by increased belly fat at menopause linked to oestrogen dominance.
Try to get at least half your intake from whole grains like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat. When you shop, look for the words “100% whole grain.”
Pizza can be healthy if you make it the right way, but most take-out and frozen ones have staggering amounts of sodium, fat, and calories, all of which can raise your risk of a heart attack.
Look for a thin crust (whole Wheat or sourdough if possible), with less cheese, plenty of vegetables and skip the pepperoni or sausage, which are loaded with salt.
For the most heart-healthy pizza, make it yourself.
Moderate drinking won’t harm your heart unless you have high blood pressure or high triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood that can boost your odds of heart disease.
Heavy drinking, on the other hand, can lead to high blood pressure, heart failure, strokes, and weight gain. So try to cut down or if you don’t already drink, don’t start.
Butter is high in saturated fat, which can raise your bad cholesterol and make heart disease more likely. Personally, I have never been able to give this up and much prefer to just use much less than I used to rather than a substitute.
You may prefer to replace butter with olive oil or vegetable oil-based spreads, which contain heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Flavoured, full-fat yoghurt
This can be a super source of nutrition. Eating it regularly might protect you from high blood pressure, but it depends on the kind you buy.
Flavoured ones can be full of added sugar, with its links to weight gain, high blood pressure, inflammation, and heart disease.
For the healthiest choice, get plain low-fat yogurt and add your own fresh fruit, cinnamon, or vanilla for flavour.
High on the favourites list, but those from restaurants and fast-food places have lots of fat and salt, which is bad news for your heart.
One study found that people who ate french fries or hash browns 2 to 3 times a week were more likely to die early.
Stick to a small portion, or even better make your own oven-baked fries with heart-healthy olive oil. They’ll be even better for you if you use sweet potatoes.
Deep-frying chicken adds calories, fat, and sodium to an otherwise healthy food. Studies have linked fried food with type 2 diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure — all of which raise your odds of heart failure.
For a crispy but healthier choice, bread skinless chicken breasts in wholewheat flour and bake instead of frying.
Ready made soup
Soup can be an easy way to get more vegetables, protein, and fibre, but watch out for unhealthy ingredients.
Prepared soup often have lots of sodium, which can cause high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and heart failure and any cream-based soup has unhealthy saturated fat.
The healthiest way to enjoy soup is to make it from scratch with and if you do buy ready made soup, check the label for the least salt and fat.
A great family favourite, but it is high in sugar, calories, and saturated fat, so save it for a special treat.
Eating foods loaded with fat and sugar leads to weight gain and can also drive up your triglycerides and lead to a heart attack.
Cut your calories and fat by choosing sorbet, low-fat or nonfat frozen yoghurt, or frozen fruit bars. Check the label for the least amount of sugar and saturated fat.
These are one of the foods that contribute most to weight gain, as it is virtually impossible to eat just one or two – as I can personally attest.
Not only are they loaded with saturated fat, they’re also covered in salt — which is also linked to heart disease.
Skip the lower-sodium or low-fat potato chips as they’ll just leave you hungry again. The most nutritious snacks combine healthy proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, like whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese.
Prevention is always better than cure, so if by making some simple changes to your everyday diet you could avoid or limit the risk of heart disease then that has got to be a good thing.
We know that progesterone supports heart health, and one of the biggest risks for heart disease is obesity, so if you are dealing with oestrogen dominance then rebalancing with progesterone will be helpful for both of those.
There are some excellent heart healthy diets around if you need to lose weight including this one:
DASH Diet for Heart Health