What is American Heart Association Diet? Myths & Facts about AHA Diet
The American Heart Association Diet
The goal of the American Heart Association (AHA) diet is to prevent heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular diseases. The AHA specifically aims to reduce hypertension and elevated blood cholesterol.
The American Heart Association diet also aims to reduce a person’s excess weight with a selection of foods that are healthy for the heart. This includes vegetables, fruits, lean meats, dairy and whole grain breads.
Although the AHA diet’s goal is not to provide quick weight loss, it can help a healthy person to lose excess weight or to maintain proper body weight. The diet simply results in a healthy and sustainable weight loss over a period of time.
American Heart Association Diet Myths and Facts
A phony American Heart Association diet has spread throughout the United States and Australia. This diet includes vanilla ice cream, eggs, hot dogs and even cheddar cheese. Supposedly, one can lose up to ten pounds in three days with this diet.
The true American Heart Association does not endorse specific foods to eat, but rather recommends daily servings from different food categories. The real AHA strongly suggests that Americans cut cholesterol and saturated fat from their meals by limiting the consumption of whole milk dairy and egg yolks. The real AHA diet is a nutritious eating plan that can be followed for a lifetime.
Many people believe that a high-protein diet is the answer to their weight problems. However, eating too much protein increases health risks. Animal foods are not only high in protein, but are high in saturated fat. Regularly consuming large amounts of foods high in fat increases the risk for diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease and several types of cancer. People who do not use excess protein effectively are at higher risk for osteoporosis or liver and kidney disorders.
A diet usually limits a person’s food consumption. Yes, you probably eat less when you’re on a diet and eating less probably causes you to lose some weight. However, you may not be getting all the nutrients you need to be healthy. Foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grain products are rich in nutrients, but are lower in calories.
The AHA Diet Meal Plan
Foods Rich in Nutrients
One should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Fruits and vegetables are high in minerals, fiber and vitamins. They are also low in calories and will help control a person’s weight and blood pressure.
The AHA diet suggests six equal servings of a variety of grains per day. Unrefined whole-grain foods can help lower a person’s blood cholesterol.
Have two servings of fish a week. Fatty fish such as salmon or tuna would be ideal. Oily fish that contain Omega-3 fatty acids help lower a person’s risk of death from a coronary artery disease. Avoid fried fish if you can.
Foods Poor in Nutrients
When it comes to eating poultry and lean meats, one should always choose those without the skin. As much as possible, prepare poultry and lean meats without saturated and trans fat. Try to avoid consuming dark meat from poultry.
Select fat that contain no more than two grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. Examples are tub margarine, corn, canola and olive oil. Cutting back on foods that contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oils will help reduce the trans fat in your diet.
Since trans fats should be avoided, be sure to select dairy products that are fat-free, low-fat or contain only 1 percent fat as much as possible.
Prepare meals that contain a little salt or no salt at all. Try to consume less than 1500 milligrams of sodium each day. Cut back on foods that contain high amounts of dietary cholesterol. As much as possible, aim to consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.
Stay away from beverages and foods that contain added sugars. If you drink alcohol, remember to drink in moderation. If you’re a woman, try to have only one drink per day. If you’re a man, you can have two drinks a day. Read nutritional labels and watch your portion sizes.
Of course, try to balance your healthy meals with exercise. Make it a point to be physically active for at least thirty minutes every day. Avoid smoking tobacco, and do your best to stay away from tobacco smoke. A healthy lifestyle and diet are your best bet against cardiovascular disease.