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The Health Centre

How to eat for a healthy heart


ryvita biscuits(NC)-Your heart is the most important muscle in the body, so it pays to look after this vital organ by watching what you eat. Diet plays an important role in helping to keep cardiovascular disease at bay.

According to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, cardiovascular disease is the nation's biggest killer accounting for at least 36 per cent of all deaths (37 per cent among women, 35 per cent among men), or about 80,000 people each year.

While it mainly affects older people, those as young as 25 can develop it. Cardiovascular disease tends to run in families and the risk is also increased by smoking, an unhealthy diet, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and lack of exercise.

A healthy, balanced diet which includes cutting saturated and trans fat to help keep cholesterol levels under control is one of the most important ways to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, a heart-healthy diet should also include foods that are high in fibre. Good sources of fibre can be found in two food groups known as complex carbohydrates - whole grains such as brown rice, rye and oatmeal, and vegetables and fruit.

Unfortunately, most Canadians are getting less than half the recommended amount of their required fibre. A healthy adult needs 25 to 35 grams a day, but surveys show that our average daily intake is only about 14 grams.

Easy ways to boost fibre intake

The good news is that you don't have to radically alter your diet in order to increase your fibre consumption. Simply switching from a refined breakfast cereal to a high-fibre one, from white bread to whole-wheat bread, from crackers to whole grain rye crackers or from white rice to brown rice can make a dramatic difference in your fibre intake and your overall health.

Look for "whole grain" at the beginning of the ingredient list and check the fibre content in the Nutrition Facts. According to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, products with 2 g of fibre or more are a healthy choice.

For example Ryvita Whole Seed Crispbreads are made with whole grain rye so instead of reaching for the chips and dip look to their delicious crispbreads topped or topless as a healthier alternative for your snacks. Ryvita offers a fantastic range of flavours to satisfy different taste preferences: Light Rye, Dark Rye, Rye & Oat Bran and Sesame - all of which are high in fibre. Recently introduced Multi-Grain variety combines the nutty flavour of sesame seeds and linseeds with the goodness of whole grain rye to make a tasty, nutritious and low fat snack. To indulge even more, try new Ryvita Sunflower Seeds & Oats and Pumpkin Seed and Oats varieties.

Not only are Ryvita's Whole Seed Crispbreads a delicious and easy way to add more fibre into your diet as they're made from whole grain rye and contain 16 per cent of recommended daily fibre intake but they also have zero trans-fat per serving. Without giving up on taste here are some delicious rye crispbread topping ideas from Ryvita.

Toppings can be as versatile as your imagination. Be adventurous, exercise your taste buds - try a spread of smooth low fat cottage cheese topped with some fresh fruit. Maybe you prefer avocado topped with slices of smoked salmon. Or indulge your palate with a spread of ricotta, a lettuce leaf, slices of oven roasted tomatoes and some fresh basil leaves. More delicious topping ideas are available at www.ryvita.com.

Source: NewsCanada





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