Designing a heart healthy diet plan for control of  high blood pressure and cholesterol

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, insulin resistance, prediabetes and diabetes, all can be put under the basket of lifestyle diseases, which can be controlled to a great extent by diet, weight and exercise management. The diet principles needed to manage these also have a lot in common

  1. The first principle is to get only enough calories as you need or get a calorie restriction of ~500 calories/day, if you are overweight
  2. You should make ensure intake of good carbs and fats and restrict bad carbs and fats in diet
  3. Try to ensure getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet

Why these principles are common, there are some additional parameters defined by the most respected international diet programs for control of specific conditions (high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes etc.)

Find a summary of these below:

TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet for control of blood cholesterol:

TLC diet is one part of the three pronged TLC program which includes: weight management, diet changes and physical activity

TLC diet aims primarily to control high LDL cholesterol levels but it also has positive impact on weight loss, reduction of blood pressure, insulin resistance/better blood sugar control, and other blood lipid levels (improved blood HDL cholesterol and reduced triglyceride levels) and helps in control of metabolic syndrome

DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet

DASH diet plans were designed to lower blood pressure and were found to effective for not only lowering BP, but also blood cholesterol, body weight and blood sugar levels

DASH diet plan agrees with TLC diet on macronutrients, but recommends tighter control of bad fats and more intake of heart-friendly nutrients such as potassium, magnesium and calcium

DASH diet has two variations: one that allows sodium up to 2300 mg/day (similar to normal population) and another that restricts sodium intake to <1500 mg/day. DASH diet with higher sodium restriction results in even better control of blood pressure

In summary DASH diet plan focuses on foods to lower blood pressure which include wide variety of vegetables, nuts, MUFA (Monounsaturated fatty acid) containing oils limits salt and bad fats in diet

MNT (Medical Nutrition Therapy) for diabetes

MNT recommendations for diabetics are consistent with the TLC diet; even for control of blood sugar, the recommended range of carbohydrate intake (50-60% of total calories) is adequate. Only additional consideration is being mindful of the carbohydrate count of the meals that you eat and tie that up with treatment if needed (know more)

MNT recommends TLC or DASH like diet to be followed, so that the risk factors for heart disease can be well controlled in diabetics

Comparison of dietary goals in various guidelines
Carbohydrates 50-60%* 45-65% 55% 50-60%
Protein 10-20% 10-35% 18% 15-25%
Total fat 15-30% 20-35% 27% 25%-35%
Sat fat 8-10% <10% 6% <7%
Dietary cholesterol 300 300 150 <200
MUFA 15-20% 14-21% Up to 20%
PUFA 6-11% 5.6-11.2% Up to 10%

This information may seem to be very difficult to put use to! That is why we have designed the

This FHI Heart Healthy Diet chart for people with Health Risks along the line of TLC, DASH and MNT principles for you:  you have to just fill in your particulars and preferences and you can get your diet chart right away

The diet plan also has two other options: the ‘Indian diet plan’ and the ‘Optimized Indian diet plan’ , which are in line with the NIN and USDA principles and good stepping stones to the TLC/DASH diets which have more diet restrictions and therefore may be harder to stick to

Also, to know a bit more about these conditions and their impact on Indians, check out: