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Choosing the right foods can make a difference in living a long and healthy life or being faced with the prospect of a heart attack or heart disease as your body ages.
All diets should include fats; however, not all fats are good for you. Your body needs lipids to function, especially at the cellular level. Unfortunately, foods high in unhealthy fats and cholesterol can have a devastating effect on your heart.
Foods high in unhealthy fats and cholesterol can cause the buildup of plaque in your blood vessels, particularly your arteries. Over time, this buildup can cause a block in the blood vessels, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the block as well as causing the vessel itself to lose its flexibility. This can cause a variety of health problems, including heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
According to the American Heart Association, you should aim for a diet that includes a variety of fats. Saturated fats should make up no more than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake; cholesterol should not exceed milligrams per day; and trans fats should make up no more than 1 percent of your daily calorie intake.
The amount of fruits and vegetables you choose to consume each day can also have an affect on your heart. Vegetables and fruits are full of the essential vitamins and minerals your body needs to operate, especially your heart. One additional benefit to making produce a large percentage of your daily diet is its substantial fiber content. To support a training session or competition athletes need to eat at an appropriate time so that all the food has been absorbed and their glycogen stores are fully replenished.
In order to replenish them the athlete needs to consider the speed at which carbohydrate is converted into blood glucose and transported to the muscles.
The rapid replenishment of glycogen stores is important for the track athlete who has a number of races in a meeting. The rise in blood glucose levels is indicated by a food's Glycaemic Index GI - the faster and higher the blood glucose rises the higher the GI. High GI foods take 1 to 2 hours to be absorbed and low GI foods can take 3 to 4 hours to be absorbed. Studies have shown that consuming high GI carbohydrates approximately 1grm per kg body within 2 hours after exercise speeds up the replenishment of glycogen stores and therefore speeds up recovery time.
Glycogen stores will last for approximately 10 to 12 hours when at rest sleeping so this is why breakfast is essential.
Eating meals or snacks a day, will help maximise glycogen stores and energy levels, minimise fat storage and stabilise blood glucose and insulin levels. What you eat on a day-to-day basis is extremely important for training. Your diet will affect how fast and how well you progress, and how soon you reach competitive standard. The page on Nutritional Tips provides some general nutritional advice to help you manage your weight and body fat. Once you are ready to compete, you will have a new concern: What should you eat before your competition?
When is the best time to eat? How much should you eat? Should you be eating during the event? In addition, what can you eat between heats or matches? A lot of research has been done in this area, and it is clear that certain dietary approaches can enhance competition performance. Calculate your daily basic and extra requirements, monitor your daily intake especially your carbohydrates and then adjust your diet to meet your daily requirements.
A good balanced diet should provide you with the required nutrients but does needs to be monitored. The simplest way to monitor the 'energy balance' is to keep a regular check of your weight.
Each day have three main meals and two to three snacks. All meals should contain both carbohydrate and protein - 20 to 30 grams worth of protein with each main meal and 10 to 20 grams with each snack. The amount of carbohydrate will vary greatly, mainly depending on your workload. However, the research is mixed. A study from found no relationship between eating dairy products and heart disease after the age of In fact, this study found that people who ate high-fat dairy products were less likely to die of a stroke.
A small-scale study compared people who ate a low-fat cheese or a Gouda-like cheese with a control group who limited their cheese intake for 8 weeks. The researchers found no difference between the groups' blood cholesterol levels. A study found a complicated relationship between dairy consumption and health risk factors. While cheese can play a role in raising cholesterol levels, in moderation it can be included as part of a varied and healthful diet.
A person may wish to talk to a dietician about how their dietary choices might affect their cholesterol levels. Because the research is mixed, it is not possible to make a general recommendation that people with high cholesterol should refrain from eating cheese. Instead, it is essential to consider the diet as a whole. Other foods may either lower or raise cholesterol when people eat them with cheese. For example, a high carbohydrate diet may increase cardiovascular risk factors, including cholesterol, in people who eat full-fat dairy products such as cheese.
Cholesterol is not the only factor to consider when eating cheese. Most cheeses are high in sodium, which can elevate blood pressure. Cheese is also a high-fat food, so people who are trying to lose weight may want to reduce their cheese intake. People who want to eat cheese may need to make other adjustments to their diet, such as reducing the sodium they get from processed foods or cutting back on red meat. A doctor or dietitian can help to create a diet plan consisting of meals that taste good, work well with a person's lifestyle, and reduce their risk of heart problems.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is present in many foods, including dairy products and meat. The body also manufactures cholesterol in the liver. The body needs some cholesterol to function, but, if too much cholesterol accumulates in the blood, it can clog arteries, raise blood pressure, and put people at higher risk of heart attack and other heart conditions.
There are two types of cholesterol in the blood. High-density lipoprotein HDL cholesterol particles are larger and are sometimes called 'good' cholesterol. In the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee changed their recommendation for cholesterol intake, stating, "cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.
Many factors alongside diet can affect a person's blood cholesterol levels. These include being overweight, a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle. This means that it is best to focus on cultivating a healthful lifestyle rather than just reducing cholesterol intake. People with high cholesterol, coronary artery disease , and other heart health risk factors should discuss their diet and lifestyle with a doctor, and possibly with a dietitian who specializes in heart health.
A wide range of individual factors may impact on blood cholesterol levels and heart health. For example, a person who eats a healthful diet overall may experience fewer health effects from eating cheese than someone who eats other foods that are high in saturated or trans fats.
Cheese can offer health benefits due to the calcium and vitamins it contains, but it also presents some risks. As with most other foods, it is best to consume it in moderation.
It is possible for cheese to be part of a heart-friendly diet, even for people with heart disease, if the diet consists primarily of low-calorie foods, including a variety of fruits and vegetables. Article last reviewed by Wed 6 June Visit our Cholesterol category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Cholesterol.