What Can You Eat If You Have Coronary Artery Disease?

CAD (Coronary Artery Disease), also referred to as Coronary heart disease, is a blockage in the coronary arteries, usually owing to a buildup of some fatty material or cholesterol-containing deposits called plaque. This condition is called atherosclerosis and it causes the coronary arteries to narrow, increasing the blood pressure in those blood vessels tenfold. As it is the function of coronary arteries to supply blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the heart muscles, this condition limits the blood flow into the heart. If this condition persists for a while, it causes chest pain. Moreover, an increase in plaque buildup could lead to a complete blockage of the blood vessels which in turn causes heart attack!

CAD Food Menu – Foods To Eat And Avoid!

Obviously, diseases as severe as this can not be overlooked, and most patients start medication as soon as they are diagnosed. Let’s take a look at the food items a CAD patient should and should not have while they are undergoing treatment.

Food menu for Coronary Artery Disease

As this disease is caused by fat buildup, it goes without saying that cholesterol content in your diet should be reduced as much as possible. Aside from that, the specific 

  Foods To Eat are:

  • Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables both contain abundant levels of vitamins and nutrients essential to maintaining proper heart health. Also, these foods keep you healthy enough without the unnecessary calorie intake. Plus, the high fiber content in fruits and vegetables helps lower cholesterol levels.

Consume these plant-based foods in whatever forms- fresh, baked, frozen, or steamed. Of course, fresh selections are highly recommended. Anyway, make sure that the sodium level in your food is minimum. This can be taken care of by keeping in check the amount of salt in cooked food, draining the liquid from cans in canned food, etc.

In the case of fruits, the glucose content should be less too. Avoid syrup-soaked fruit pieces and essence-based juices as high sugar or calorie content can be equally harmful.

  • Whole grains

Grains and vegetables should make the main dish of your meals. These are both highly rich in fiber. Whole grains are nutrient-rich, yet low on calories and fat. Hence they help regulate your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. 

Some specific food items you can include in your meals are whole grain bread, pasta, and bagels. Also brown rice, oatmeals, and high fiber cereals.

  • Fat-free milk

Though it is recommended to avoid whole milk (2% milk), low-fat (1%) milk and milk products are beneficial. You may include fat-free yogurt, cheese, etc.

It is a common misunderstanding that all types of fats are to be avoided. The truth is that there are healthy fats, too, which are good for heart health. Monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, canola oil, etc., and polyunsaturated fats like certain fish, avocados, flaxseed, some nuts, and seed, etc also help regulate cholesterol levels and are recommendable to a heart-healthy diet.

These surprising differences can be made sense of by sorting out the types of cholesterol present in these fats, the deposit of which has gradually turned into coronary heart disease. These are mainly of two classifications:

High-density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL).

Lipoproteins, made of fat and protein, are cholesterol carriers that move cholesterol through your body.

HDL transports the excess cholesterols of other forms from your arteries into your liver where it is broken down and expelled from your body. Hence it is known as the good cholesterol, and fatty foods enhancing the level of HDL cholesterol in your body help to keep your heart and coronary arteries healthy. 

Whereas, LDL cholesterol is called ‘bad cholesterol and is highly risky for patients suffering from coronary artery disease as it takes cholesterol into your arteries, where it may lead to a buildup of plaque and lead to atherosclerosis. An increased amount of bad cholesterol creates blood clots in your arteries, which may break away and block your coronary arteries, leading to a heart attack. 

Therefore, you have to be cautious with the amount of LDL enhancing food items you consume, and the 

  Foods To Avoid are:

  • Harmful fats:

Some fatty rich food items such as butter, gravy, pastries, non-dairy creamers, certain cuts of meat, fried foods, processed foods, and most junk foods (like chips, cookies, pies, etc) increase the amount of LDL cholesterol and are to be avoided by CAD patients to improve your health.

  • Sodium-rich foods:

Foods that contain high levels of sodium increase your blood pressure considerably and can worsen your coronary heart disease. Most of the harmful fats stated above are also high in sodium. Aside from that, be careful to avoid condiments like mayonnaise and ketchup, packaged meals, and restaurant menu items. Also, keep an eye on the amount of table salt in all your meals.

It is always better to prevent these kinds of chronic diseases as a complete cure is nearly impossible. Ongoing medications and treatments for long periods of time can only help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of further problems like heart attacks. Therefore it would be better to keep in check the above stated harmful food items in your daily diet before it is too late. And maintain a heart-healthy diet by including the food items specified above as good for your heart. It would also be better to get regular checkups.

In the case of diagnosed patients, strictly follow healthy diets, and employ healthy lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, exercising regularly, sleeping on time, etc. 

One thing to keep in mind is that stress and tension can worsen your condition very much. So try to engage in many stress-reducing activities.

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