Are you looking to reduce your risk of heart disease and improve your cardiovascular health. Find out which foods are best for your heart.
What is a healthy diet for the heart?
Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women. It claims more lives than any other form of cancer. Heart disease can have a kulinarika devastating effect on your quality of life, mood, and outlook. Although weight control and regular exercise are important for maintaining a healthy heart, what you eat is equally important. A heart-healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease by as much as 80%.
You cannot be miraculously healthy by eating one food. Your overall diet is more important than any specific foods. A heart-healthy diet focuses on “real,” healthy food. It is not about processed foods, packaged meals, or sugary snacks.
These heart-healthy tips will help you manage your heart conditions and reduce your chance of suffering a heart attack.
These are the keys to a healthy heart.
Be wise about fats
You can replace unhealthy fats with healthy fats if you’re concerned about your heart health. The following are some of the best changes you can make in your diet:
Eliminate artificial trans fats. Artificial trans fats can raise your LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol levels, which can increase your chances of heart attack and stroke. They can also lower your HDL, or “good”, cholesterol, which can increase your cardiovascular risk. Many countries have banned artificial trans-fats from commercially prepared foods. However, it is worth looking at labels to avoid any food with “partially hydrogenated” oil.
Reduce saturated fats. Limit saturated fats to 10% of your daily calories. You should enjoy dairy in moderation. If you are looking for protein, consider eating fish, eggs, chicken skinless, or vegetarian sources.
Increase your intake of healthy fats. Eat foods high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats to lower your blood cholesterol and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Omega 3 fatty acids should be consumed every day from fish like salmon, trout, and herring or flaxseeds, kale or spinach. Olive oil, avocados and nuts are all good sources of healthy fats.
Do not replace fatwith sugar, refined carbs or other sweeteners
It is important to replace unhealthy fats with healthier alternatives when cutting down on heart-risky foods. You can make a difference in your health by replacing processed meats with chicken or fish. However, switching from animal fats to refined carbohydrates (e.g. replacing breakfast bacon with a donut) won’t reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The body doesn’t require any extra sugar. It gets enough sugar from food. Refined carbs and sugary foods can add up to empty calories that are just as bad for your health as they are for you waistline.
Opt for whole grains, such as whole wheat bread or multigrain bread, brown rice and barley, quinoa and bran cereals, instead of sugary soft drinks and white bread.
High-fiber foods are your best bet
Fiber can help lower bad cholesterol and protect you from heart disease. It may help you lose weight, as well. Fiber stays longer in your stomach than other foods so you feel fuller longer and can eat less. Fiber helps to move fat through your digestive system faster so that less is absorbed. Fiber intake will increase your energy to exercise and make you feel fuller.
Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains, wheat cereals and vegetables like carrots, celery and tomatoes.
Soluble fiber sources include oatmeal, beans and nuts.
Avoid salty and processed foods
High blood pressure is a risk factor for heart disease. For adults, the American Heart Association recommends that no more than one teaspoon of salt be consumed per day. This may seem alarmingly small but there are many easy and delicious ways to lower your sodium intake.
Reduce the consumption of canned and processed foods. Most of the salt in processed or canned foods, such as soups and frozen meals, is added to meats and poultry. You can reduce sodium intake by eating fresh foods, choosing unsalted meats, making your own soups and stews, and looking out for unprocessed meats.
Spices can be used to enhance flavor. You can control how much salt you eat by cooking for yourself. Use the many tasty alternatives to salt. Fresh herbs such as basil, thyme or chives are great options. You can also find dried spices such as bay leaves or cumin in the dried spices aisle to add flavor and texture to your meals without adding sodium.
Substitute lower sodium versions or salt substitutes. Look out for condiments and packaged foods that are sodium-free, low sodium, or unsalted. Use fresh ingredients, and don’t add salt to your cooking.