How Canada’s updated food guide helps improve heart health
As you may already know, the Canadian Food Guide has undergone a much-needed revision. While I still strongly believe there is no one-size-fits-all diet, the updated Food Guide encourages us to eat a variety of whole foods, limit processed foods, prioritize fruits and vegetables, consider plant-based protein, and even eat more mindfully.
Needless to say, this update provides a more holistic approach to its predecessor, and one which we can all benefit from when applied to our own individual needs.
We can use the principles of the Food Guide to help us in our efforts to reduce high blood pressure and support overall cardiovascular health. Here’s how:
1. Have plenty of vegetables and fruits
The vitamins and minerals in fruits and veggies, such as vitamin C and potassium, help the body flush extra fluids and balance out the negative effects of artificial sodium. Since too much sodium reduces your kidneys’ ability to remove water, high blood pressure can result due to the extra fluid and strain on the delicate blood vessels leading to the kidneys. Stock up on foods like apples, bananas, carrots, avocados, oranges, zucchini, celery, and citrus fruits.
2. Eat protein foods
I recommend incorporating free-range chicken, turkey, bison, tofu, and legumes into your diet as protein sources. Not only does protein help lower systolic blood pressure, it also helps your body build and repair tissues, boost immunity, and regulate hormones.
3. Make water your drink of choice
Choose water versus sugar-filled drinks or caffeine to stay hydrated and help your body flush out toxins. Try replacing that extra cup of joe with a herbal tea, and sip water all day as dehydration can lead to a rebound effect where blood pressure rises.
4. Choose whole grain foods
Whole grains are full of fibre and minerals that have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body, which is important since inflammation plays a key role in the development of heart disease. Add oats, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and bulgur into your diet for a hypertension-reducing effect.