How to eat for a healthy 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
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
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
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