For the vegan diet, heart disease is often a serious concern, and it is a good idea to be cautious about the foods you choose. However, there are many excellent low-fat, low-calorie selections that will help keep your heart healthy while still being delicious. Here is a short list of the best low-fat, low-carb and high-protein foods that will help keep your heart healthy while you pursue the vegan diet.
Low-fat, high-fiber vegetables are the cornerstone for a heart healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables and legumes (such as beans and lentils) all provide a wide variety of nutrients that your heart and blood can enjoy without adding excessive fat. In particular, fruits are a potent tool for keeping cholesterol levels in check. Some fruits (such as apples, pears, bananas and grapefruit) have been shown to lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) while others (such as blueberries, cranberries, peaches and prunes) have been shown to lower total triglycerides (triglycerides) and increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). With these power players in your arsenal, you can feel confident that your heart will stay strong and healthy.
Spinach is one of the most powerful vegetables for the heart, as long as you cook it mild. Cooked spinach has a mild flavor, which makes it very tasty. One of the reasons that spinach is so great for your heart is that it contains a tremendous amount of potassium, which regulates blood pressure. Also, if you choose dark leafy greens, such as kale, there is a lower risk of developing high blood pressure than with other colors of leafy greens. A heart healthy diet includes lots of dark green vegetables.
As far as proteins go, nuts are on every vegan dieter’s list of “must haves.” There is a reason that nuts are a staple of many diets. They provide significant amounts of magnesium, a mineral that helps regulate the heart rhythm and prevents calcium from building up in the arteries. Nuts also contain high-quality protein that is very beneficial to the heart and brain.
Dried fruits are another must-have on a vegan diet. Many people believe that there is nothing special about dried fruits; however, the truth is that dried fruits are packed with nutrients, including high-quality antioxidants, fiber and dietary fibers that help cleanse the colon and improve digestion. Also, dried fruits provide an excellent source of concentrated protein that the body needs. That concentration of protein is essential in ensuring that the heart, arteries and other parts of the body get the energy they need.
Dried Fruit Desserts
Dried fruit desserts are a nice way to end a vegan diet because there is nothing better than a dessert to end a meal! You can have chocolate cake or pudding or even banana bread. Any of these desserts will leave your stomach feeling satisfied and give you the energy you need to get through the rest of the day. A good dose of fiber can also help keep the heart healthy.
The fiber from nuts, grains and legumes also help to cleanse the colon, which improves digestion and helps to prevent constipation and heartburn. Other foods to avoid with regard to vegan diets that increase cholesterol levels in the blood include those made with trans-fats, fried foods, fatty acids, chocolates and other processed foods. Some of these foods also contain sodium that can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases. So, the choice of what to eat is not so much avoiding the bad stuff but avoiding it all together.
By following a vegan diet, it is important to make sure that you avoid animal products and other ingredients that are considered harmful to the heart. Eating leafy green vegetables is a great way to do this. Also, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes are all excellent for your heart’s health and should be included in any vegan diet. With a little education, some creativity and commitment, you can make eating a heart healthy meal a possibility and one that will benefit your heart.