Eat right for your heart to beat right


 – Edwina Raj –

Embrace the new heart-healthy nutrition regime to protect our heart. Diet is one of the risk factors which is under your control and the Global Burden of Disease study has reported diet as a major factor behind the rise in hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and other cardiovascular components. Heart disease or stroke, are the number 1 cause of death around the world.


The season of coronavirus continues to ruin us when associated with chronic metabolic diseases which increases the risk of deaths if remained uncontrolled. 


Components of a heart-healthy diet:

  • Focus on Omega 3 sources
  • Adequate fiber in your diet
  • Low in unhealthy fats such as saturated & trans fat
  • Limit sodium
  • Add colors on your plate to source antioxidants from vegetables & fruits.
  • Watch your carbs/sugar/starch


The above components are consolidated and can be benefited by practicing the most popularly tagged as one among healthy diets of 2020 is the Mediterranean diet & DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. These diets have exchanged the old principles of Nutrition which you have heard earlier from the same experts.


Your planned diet prescribed by your Dietitian should aim at keeping the following parameters on track to prevent the risk of metabolic and heart disease:

  • To maintain blood pressure at a normal range 
  • Your good cholesterol (HDL) should be at an ideal range
  • To chase body fat percentage but not your Body Mass Index or weight, if your weight is normal that’s not enough check your body fat percentage and distribution.
  • To keep your waistline within the recommended values (<80cm for women, <90cm for men), Indians are mostly with pot belly with skinny legs who are at greater risk.
  • Aim at normal triglyceride levels and lower LDL of your cholesterol profile.


What is a “Mediterranean diet and DASH guideline?”


The Mediterranean and DASH diets have been proved to boost brain health as well as improve heart health, reducing risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer etc.

  • The diet emphasizes on potassium sources such as vegetables, fruits essential for your heart health & to maintain your blood pressure.
  • To choose whole grains such as unpolished rice, millets, whole wheat, beans, nuts, and seeds;
  • Include fish and poultry which are more common than red meat in this diet. 
  • Use of non-tropical vegetable oils and nuts; and
  • Use good fats. Extra-virgin olive oil, rice bran oil, gingelly oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, olives, and avocados are great sources of healthy fats for your daily meals.
  • Limit added sugars, sugary beverages, sodium, highly processed foods, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, and fatty or processed meats.
  • The fruit is a common dessert instead of sweets by including 1-2 servings per day.

Wine as part of this diet should be excluded or included as per your Cardiologist or Nutritionist’s advice only since an excess intake of alcohol can increase your blood pressure.


Tips to cut back on sodium

  • Limit your intake of salt to <1tsp/day. 
  • Restrict processed foods, salted cheese, fast foods, and salty snacks like chips, salted nuts/butter, sauces, papads, fryums, dried fish, and pickles.
  • Avoid adding soda/baking soda in batter while preparing Idli/Dosa/Dhokla/Cake/Pakoda.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts label on food packages for sodium.


Heart patties (Energy-284kcal, Protein-10.4g )  

  • Boiled and mashed sweet potato, peas, spinach – ¼ th cup
  • Roasted and powdered – almonds, pista, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds- 1tbsp
  • Ginger and garlic finely chopped- 1 inch & 5 cloves
  • Gram flour /besan – 2 tbsp
  • Finely chopped curry leaves a few
  • Add pepper & turmeric and salt to taste as required with a dash of garammasla
  • Use rice bran oil to smear the cutlet, use a heart-shaped cutter to shape it & steam or shallow fry them.
  • 2 servings


Energy kcal

Carbohydrate (g)

Protein (g)

Fat (g)





22 (75mg of Omega 3)



Avocado deviled eggs



  • 2 boiled eggs
  • Large avocado -20g
  • Lime Juice – 3ml
  • Garlic clove minced ( 1) -3g
  • Jeera– ¼ th tsp  
  • Salt and pepper to taste



  • Halve the boiled eggs and remove the yolks, carefully set the yolks in a bowl, and place the egg whites on a platter.
  • Add the avocado to the bowl with the egg yolks and mash until mixed.
  • Mix in the lime juice, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic. Stir together to combine.
  • Spoon the mixture into the egg white halves and sprinkle chili powder or paprika on top for color.


Nutrient content for 1 serving –


Energy kcal

Carbohydrate (g)

Protein (g)

Fat (g)




5.9(85.0g of omega 3)




About the Author

Edwina Raj

Author & Dietitian

Edwina Raj, Senior Dietitian, Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore

Disclaimer : The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVC NEWS.


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