Omega-3 and fibre - cardiovascular allies
Omega-3 helps to regulate blood pressure and fibre helps to reduce blood cholesterol. That makes them essential nutritional allies.
Linseeds are rich in omega-3
The seeds of flax, linseeds have been valued for their therapeutic properties since ancient times. These nutty-tasting seeds are one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and are excellent for regulating blood pressure (see Choosing healthy meat and fish). They contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol, while insoluble fibre helps eliminate toxins from the bowel.
It is easy to incorporate linseeds into your diet. When ground, they provide the greatest nutritional benefit since the body cannot digest whole seeds. Crushed or milled seeds can be added to breakfast cereals, yogurt, salads, soups, or smoothies. You can also add linseeds to breads, burgers, and sauces before baking or cooking.
Oil extracted from the seeds also offers omega-3, but does not contain any fibre. It can be used as a salad dressing, but is unsuitable for cooking and must be refrigerated at all times as it is sensitive to light, oxygen, and heat.
Boosting your fibre intake for a healthy heart
Since a high-fibre diet has been proved to reduce the risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases, it is vital that you eat lots of fibre-rich foods. Eating a diet rich in soluble fibre daily has been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol by about five per cent.
Foods that are high in soluble fibre include pulses, whole grains such as oats and rye, and vegetables, as well as fruits, which are rich in the soluble fibre pectin. They will help decrease harmful LDL-cholesterol levels and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
One meal that is easy to transform into a fibre-rich one is breakfast. By making simple changes, such as substituting whole-grain cereals and breads for refined varieties and adding fruit, you can increase the amount of soluble fibre that you eat every day.
For example, with whole-grain muesli and fruit, wholemeal toast, and orange juice, a healthy breakfast provides 3.0g of fibre, 7.0g fat, and only 4.9mg of cholesterol; compared to a less healthy breakfast of sweetened, puffed-wheat cereal, coffee, and a croissant, which provides just 1.5g of fibre, as well as 27g fat and 105mg of cholesterol.
- A bit about cardiovascular disease
- Cardiovascular disease and nutrition
- Case study: busy accountant with metabolic syndrome
- Dietary advice for heart failure
- Dietary advice for high blood pressure
- Nutrients that help cardiovascular disease
- Nutritional advice for cardiovascular disease
- Reducing total cholesterol, LDL, and triglyceride levels
- Therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) diet
Get more on this subject…