If you’re concerned about your heart’s health, you’ve probably heard about the power of making dietary changes to improve outcomes or reduce risk factors. Heart disease may be the number one cause of death in the United States, but there are many dietary changes that can change outcomes and even prevent heart disease in the first place. For many folks, however, making significant dietary changes isn’t easy and for some, not doable at all: the meal prep, planning, cooking, and cleanup is just too much to add on to an already busy life.
If you could benefit from heart healthy meal plans delivered, good news: you can have a heart healthy meal plan delivered right here in St. Louis (and if you don’t live in St. Louis, the good news is that across the country many meal plan providers are catching on).
How Do Meal and Food Choices Impact Heart Health?
Following a heart-healthy meal plan, alongside exercise, can do wonders to protect your long term cardiac health. As you probably already know, some foods and meal choices can increase chances of heart issues; other foods can actually decrease heart issues. Research shows that following a ‘cardiac diet’ can have a huge impact on heart health.
Meal Plans that are Heart-Healthy Include:
Meals that are Low-Sodium
As meals and foods that are high in sodium can increase the risk of heart problems, opting for low-sodium meal choices can greatly benefit your health. Examples of high-sodium foods to avoid include processed meats and canned foods as both can be high in sodium.
Meals Rich in Whole Grains
Heavily processed grains and carbohydrates are higher in unhealthy fats and have less nutritional content — they also lead to blood sugar spikes and crashes. Unrefined grains, however, have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease hunger, and may even improve the functioning of blood vessels.
Meals Rich in Unsaturated Fats
‘Bad’ oils need to be avoided as they can lead to weight gain and increase multiple health risks, including cardiac ones. Good oils, such as Omega-3, however, can actually reduce health risks. The American Heart Association recommends that people consume meals rich in unsaturated fats, such as fish, twice a week or more.
Meals Rich in Fiber
Fiber has many benefits for overall health, and when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart, fiber has been shown to impact many of the risk factors of heart disease such as obesity, Diabetes Type 2, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Fiber that occurs naturally (i.e: not the store-bought bottles of fiber) are the most impactful — fiber can be soluble or insoluble, and both are helpful. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and beans are rich in natural fiber.
Meals Rich in Nutrients
Meals and foods that consist, largely, of ‘empty’ calories aren’t good choices for folks who want to keep a healthy heart.. What are ‘empty’ calories? They are calories, such as those from sugar-rich soft drinks, pastries, and donuts, that don’t contain the nutrition our bodies need. Meals that are rich in nutrients, however, can keep you feeling full longer, reduce blood sugar crashes, and help keep your heart health on track.
Meals that are Fresh
Fresh meals, not frozen, are the best choice for heart health. Why? Processed foods tend to contain more unhealthy fats, less nutrients, less fiber, processed meats and grains and relying on them too much can wreak havoc on heart health. Freshly made meals, however, are rich in the nutrition your heart needs, and, in general, contain less of the stuff your heart doesn’t.
The Problem with Heart Healthy Meals
All of the above sounds great, right? Eat this, not that — cardiac magic! As you are probably already thinking….yeah, it’s not that simple. Life happens, and a perfectly prepared meal that’s heart-healthy isn’t always in the cards. Heck, for many of us, it’s not in the cards most of the time.
Planning, preparing, shopping, cooking, and cleaning meals that are optimized for cardiac health is a major time commitment. If you are also juggling other obligations and health goals (such as exercise or less stress), making the time for all of this meal planning and preparing is just not possible. Most of us, no matter how much we want to get healthy, just don’t have the bandwidth to stay on course and maintain the lasting changes that our hearts need. That being said, staying committed and keeping on track with a cardiac-healthy diet pays off.
The Solution to Heart Healthy Meals: Get Them Delivered
This blog is full of good news and bad news. The good news is that there are real changes to your diet that can pay off in spades. The bad news is that major dietary changes aren’t achievable for many of us. Now, for some good news: we live in an age in which so much is a whole lot easier now. Need a ride? Call an Uber. Want to visit a friend who lives across the country? Hop on a video call. Don’t have the time to prepare perfectly heart-healthy meals at home each week and day? Call us (or a meal plan provider like us) here at Pure Plates in St. Louis.
We’re a meal plan delivery service located in St. Louis and we provide meals for folks who want to keep their cardiac health (along with other health goals) on track. All of our meal plans are planned with our nutrition team and chefs: they are low in sodium, prepared using exclusively healthy oils, rich in fiber and nutrients (you won’t find any empty calories in our meals and snacks), are made with unrefined and unprocessed ingredients (AKA all supportive for your heart health).
Our meal plans work, as the reviews from the customers we’ve had the pleasure of helping show:
“I was able to save time and stick to my clean eating plan, which helped get me closer to my own personal goals!”
Ordering from us is easy. We have multiple locations for pick-ups throughout the greater St. Louis area — and we also deliver our freshly-made meals and snacks directly to your door (or office, or wherever you happen to be). Our meals are served in microwaveable, BPA-free, and recyclable packaging: you simply put them in your refrigerator, heat them when you’re ready, and enjoy! You can check out our meal plan options here — you can order a la carte, or try a five day revive (or a longer one).