Obtain an overview of the person’s usual diet by asking for recent typical examples. Note:
- Fruit and vegetable intake
- Regularity and type of take away food eaten
- Addition of sugar, salt, fat to food
- Methods of cooking
- Portion sizes
- Type of saturated fat eaten
- Impact of culture, religion or income on food choices
- Use of over the counter dietary supplements
- Ability to read and understand food labelling
Aim to establish and maintain healthy eating. This includes: [#national-heart-foundation-of-australia-and-the-cardiac-society-2012]
- Limiting saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake to <7% and trans fatty acid (tFA) intake to <1% of total energy intake
- Consuming 1 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and >2 g alpha linolenic acid (ALA) daily
- Limiting salt intake to ≤ 4 g/day (1550 mg sodium)
- Limiting caffeine intake
ALA is an omega 3 fatty acid found in canola or soybean based oils and margarine spreads, seeds, nuts, legumes, eggs and green leafy vegetables. [#national-heart-foundation-of-australia.-2009]
EPA and DHA requirements can be achieved by eating 2-3 servings of 150 g of oily fish a week and supplementing intake with fish oil and omega-3 enriched foods.
Some cultures use products that are high in salt and may not consider reducing intake unless foods are specifically mentioned such as soya sauce, fish sauce, and dried foods preserved in sugar or salt.
Limit the intake of caffeinated beverages to 1-2 cups a day as excessive caffeine may exacerbate arrhythmias and increase heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP).
Diet is associated with strong beliefs, attitudes and habits. Customs and festivities can also strongly influence our dietary behaviours. There are also common myths surrounding foods, for example some people think that some forms of sodium are better than others such as rock salt, whereas the impact of all sodium is the same.