Welcome to the world of PIP (Person in Pain). Hover over each of the parts of the body. Then click on the articles for the most up-to-date information for pain and pain management.

Effects of Diet on a Healthy Heart

The term “diet” can sometimes lead to confusion. Many people hear “diet” and think of it as somebody “going on a diet, we all have basic nutritional needs. A poor diet can lead to numerous health problems, including obesity, diabetes, vitamin deficiencies, and even poor cardiovascular (heart) health. A healthy diet consists of a balance of protein (such as lean meats, fish, or tofu), unsaturated fats, fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates (starchy foods like breads). A healthy diet is low in saturated fats, salts, and sugars. This of course does not mean that one can never have a candy bar and remain healthy, but that these treats need to be consumed on an infrequent basis.

Healthy eating habits help your cardiovascular health by:

  • Lowering blood pressure

  • Increasing levels of good cholesterol (HDL), which help carry fats away from arteries and back to the liver, where it is processed and starts its journey on being expelled from the body

  • Decreasing levels of bad cholesterol (LDL), which can form fatty deposits in the arteries, leading to heart disease

  • Preventing blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks or strokes

  • Increasing chances of surviving a heart attack by relieving pressure on the heart and circulatory system

If you are currently not eating a healthy diet, do not abandon hope of doing so! Make small, sustainable changes, working towards a healthy eating style. Do not try to change every habit at once. Doing so can make maintaining changes extremely difficult. Set a small, attainable short-term goal to start, such as eating an additional serving of fruit every day. Work on long-term goals at the same time, such as eating one vegetarian meal a week. Adding physical activity to correspond with your eating changes can help motivate you to retain positive changes. Perhaps one of the most helpful things when trying to make any lifestyle change is support. If family and friends are motivated to make such changes with you, it makes the experience more pleasurable. Even if you don’t have a group that you can physically engage in healthy changes with, there are support groups online that are often free of charge.