Let’s talk about heart health
Taking care of our heart is all about long term patterns that support our health – like eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats and eating less saturated fats, salt and sugar and moving our bodies every day.
Why do we need to support our heart health?
Our heart is one of the most important organs we have. The heart pumps oxygen and nutrients to every single part of our body so it can perform daily functions. If we don’t eat a balanced diet or exercise regularly, fatty deposits can build up in the blood vessels that lead to and from the heart. If left untreated, these fatty deposits can cause high blood pressure, stroke or even a heart attack. The good news is, we can help reduce the risk of poor heart health by being physically active and eating a balanced diet!
Food and heart health
When it comes to eating well for our heart health, it all comes back to eating a variety of the core food groups, every day. This means eating lots of fibre-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables, eating moderate amounts of lean meats or alternatives (like chicken, salmon or tofu) and dairy or alternatives (like low fat yoghurt or calcium fortified soy milk), and small amounts of healthy fats (like olive oil or avocado).
Takeaway foods, sweets and pastries often contain high levels of sugar, saturated fat and sodium. These can all contribute to raising our cholesterol levels, which can lead to developing those fatty deposits in our blood vessels. To reduce the risk of high cholesterol, limit how much processed meats, chips, doughnuts, chocolates, lollies and sugary drinks you consume. Try our egg and vegetable curry for a healthier takeaway alternative.
Smoking and drinking lots of alcohol can also negatively impact our heart health, so try to limit alcohol intake to no more than four standard drinks a day. If you’d like to reduce your smoking habits but not sure where to start, reach out to your local doctor.
How exercise supports heart health
Diet is only one part of taking care of our heart – physical activity is just as important! Engaging in regular exercise helps promote a healthy weight and can reduce our cholesterol levels, which can all help reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous either – going for a 10 minute walk three times a day can be enough to reduce your risk of heart disease.
- Keeping your heart healthy [Internet]. © 2021 National Heart Foundation of Australia [cited 2022 Jun 15]. Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/heart-health-education/keeping-your-heart-healthy
- The Better Health Channel. Heart explained [Internet]. Department of Health, State Government of Victoria, Australia © Copyright State of Victoria 2020. Updated 2022 Feb 25 [cited 2022 Jun 15]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/heart
- The Better Health Channel. Heart disease – know your risk [Internet]. Department of Health, State Government of Victoria, Australia © Copyright State of Victoria 2020. Updated 2020 Aug 24 [cited 2022 Jun 15]. Available from: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/heart-disease-risk-factors
- National Health and Medical Research Council [Internet]. Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol [cited 2022 Jun 15]. Available from: https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-advice/alcohol
Egg and Vegetable Curry
- 2 tsp peanut oil
- 1 brown onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 1/2 tbsp mild curry powder
- 2 x 400g cans Italian cherry tomatoes in tomato juice
- 250g broccoli
- 250g cauliflower
- 2 eggs
- 90g (1/4 cup) fruit chutney
- 100g snow peas, trimmed
- 70g (1/4 cup) low-fat natural yoghurt
- Steamed rice, to serve
- Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion, stirring often, for 3 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and curry powder, and cook for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
- Add tomato and vegetables. Cover. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the sauce thickens.
- Meanwhile, bring the eggs to the boil in a small saucepan of water over high heat. Cook for 7 minutes. Drain. Refresh under cold running water. Peel each egg and cut into 6 wedges.
- Stir the chutney and snow peas into the curry. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until the snow peas are bright green and tender crisp. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide the curry among serving bowls and top with the egg and yoghurt. Serve with rice.
Last updated: January 24, 2023 at: 10:48 am