Diet & Lifestyle

Living a heart healthy life means eating a healthy balanced diet, and incorporating moderate physical activity as deemed safe by your physician. Your healthcare team, including a Registered Dietitian and Chronic Disease Management Nurse can help you with these changes.

In this section you will find information sheets and videos to help you make changes to live a happy, heart healthy lifestyle.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important component of living a heart healthy lifestyle. It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of moderate-vigorous intensity exercise every week. To learn more about getting active visit the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Heart Healthy Diets

There are many different heart healthy diets out there.

Following healthy dietary patterns is a key step in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The two dietary patterns most widely used for the treatment of CVD include the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) and the Mediterranean diet. . A Registered Dietitian can help you decide what changes you should make to your diet to improve your heart health.

DASH Diet

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension was tailored for the specific purpose of lowering blood pressure. Hypertension is associated with the development of other CVD, so the DASH diet may prevent the risks of CVD by improving insulin resistance and lipid profiles, controlling fasting blood sugar, and reducing inflammation. The specific requirements of this diet consist of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats, meat alternatives, low-fat dairy products and, limited fats and sweets. The diet emphasizes the consumption of mostly plant-based foods. It recommends 2000 calories per day and the reducing sodium (salt) to 1500mg per day.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is a traditional diet of the people of Crete and Italy. It is used to promote healthy eating habits and prevent chronic disease like cardiovascular disease. Various research suggests that the Mediterranean diet has protective heart benefits such as, reduced blood pressure, decrease in waist circumference, improvement in insulin and cholesterol levels, and reduction of inflammation. The Mediterranean diet has no specific caloric restrictions. Meals are based on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, olive oil in replacement to animal fats, beans, nuts, legumes and seeds, herbs and spices. The diet recommends fish and seafood to be consumed at least twice a week, moderate intake of poultry, eggs and dairy weekly, and a limited intake of red meat and sweets.

Videos

Food Substitutions Video (British Heart Foundation)

Lifestyle Risk (Heart & Stroke Foundation)

Health Canada Meal Planning

Guided Tour of Canada’s Food Guide

Learn more about Canada’s Food Guide