How to improve eating habits for heart-healthy? Best heart-healthy diet tips.
Best Heart-healthy Diet Tips For You! How to improve eating habits for heart-healthy? Best heart-healthy diet tips.
Best foods to prevent Heart Disease and Boost your Cardiovascular Health
Heart disease is one of the main causes of mortality throughout the world. It affects men and women of all ages. Knowing that you have a heart disease can be very devastating. It can affect not only the sufferer but also his/her family, friends and loved ones. It can actually take an emotional toll on everyone, affecting one’s outlook, mood and overall quality of life.
No one wants to go through this physically, mentally and emotionally-draining experience. The good news is that there are certain ways you can do to spare yourself and those around you from this difficult and painful disease.
Regular exercise and proper weight control are important to reduce the risk of heart disease. In addition to these, eating the right kinds of food is also crucial to keep your heart in shape. Combined with some other healthy lifestyle choices, a diet that’s healthy for your heart can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke by eighty percent.
Adopt the right eating habits to manage or prevent heart disease. It is also important to lower your cholesterol levels and high blood pressure. With a heart-healthy diet, you can take better control of the quality of your life.
What is a Heart-Healthy Diet?
A heart-healthy diet is essential to control your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, lower your cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight. You can better achieve this when you exercise regularly. There is no single food that can instantly make your healthy. Therefore, consistency is highly important. Your overall dietary pattern is also even more important than any specific foods.
If you want to stick to foods that are health for the heart, avoid eating processed food, fried and packaged meals, as well as sugary snacks. Keep in mind that a heart-healthy diet is all about natural and fresh foods.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, have high blood pressure or high cholesterol or you just want to make sure that your cardiovascular health is in always in check. The following heart-healthy tips will surely help your lower the risk of a heart attack and protect the health of your heart.
If you want to switch to a heart-healthy diet, you must eat the following foods:
- Colorful vegetables and fruits, either frozen or fresh
- Healthy fats like fish oils, olive oil, avocados, flaxseeds, raw nuts
- High-fiber foods like pasta or breads that are made from whole grains
- Poultry and fish
- Organic dairy lie unsweetened yogurt, skim milk and eggs
The foods you must avoid to improve the health of your heart include:
- Trans fats and saturated fats that can often be obtained from snack foods, fast foods and fried foods
- Egg or white breads, refined pastas, rice, sugary cereals
- Packaged foods
- Processed meat like sausage, salami and bacon
- Processed cheese
- Yogurt with added sugar
If you are unsure whether a certain food is good for your heart or not, it is best to read the label. Review this list to know which foods you should eat and avoid for cardiovascular health.
THE TOP SECRETS TO A HEART-HEALTHY DIET
- Be Smart About Fats
Since fats are not usually good for the heart, it doesn’t mean that you should avoid them altogether. Try replacing those unhealthy fats with the good ones instead. Other significant changes you can make in your diet include:
Cut out trans fat. Trans fat can raise your bad cholesterol level which can be detrimental to your heart. It can increase your risk of stroke and heart attack. These fats are usually found in commercially-baked foods, fried goods or anything that has ingredients with “partially hydrogenated” oil. Be careful with foods that contain this fat.
Limit Saturated Fats. The most common foods that have saturated fats are red meat, dairy and tropical oils. Make sure that you limit your intake to no more than ten percent every day. Vary the sources of protein in your diet. It is a good idea to consider vegetarian sources, skinless chicken, fish and eggs to get protein that your body needs.
- Don’t replace fat with sugar or refined carbs
As mentioned, you shouldn’t just eliminate fats from your diet. Instead of consuming heart-risky, unhealthy fats, replacing them with healthier alternatives is a smart idea. Instead of eating processed meats, try eating chicken or fish. This can surely make a huge impact in your overall health.
Keep in mind that your body gets enough sugar from those that naturally occurs in food. Therefore, it does not need any added sugar. Refined carbs and sugary food will just add up to the unnecessary calories that are not only unhealthy to your healthy, but also bad for your weight. Avoid drinking sugary soft drinks, processed foods, white bread and pasta. Instead, choose whole-grains such as multigrain bread or whole wheat. Oatmeal, barley, brown rice, non-starchy vegetables and quinoa are also great for your heart.
- Focus on High-fiber Foods
A high-fiber diet can lower the bad cholesterol in your body. Eating foods that are rich in fiber will also provide the essential nutrients you need in order to protect against cardiovascular disease. In addition, this can help you achieve a healthy weight loss.
Fiber stays in your stomach longer than any other foods, so you will normally feel full longer. This is beneficial, as it will help you eat less. When you eat foods that are loaded with fiber, there is less fat absorbed by your body. This is also great for boosting your energy.
There are two types of fiber that are essential to the body, such as:
- Insoluble Fiber – this type of fiber can be found in vegetables like tomatoes, celery and carrots. Wheat cereals and whole grains are also rich in this type of fiber.
- Soluble fiber – the sources include nuts, beans, fruits like berries, apples, pears and citrus fruits, oatmeal and barley.
AVOID EATING A LOT OF SALTY AND PROCESSED FOODS
One of the culprits for having high blood pressure is consuming a lot of salty foods. This can also be a great risk factor for a heart disease. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, every individual should consume not more than a teaspoon of salt each day for an adult. Processed foods are high in salt or sodium, so make sure you avoid these to protect the health of your heart.
Salt can be found in almost all kinds of food you eat. Therefore, you might think that cutting down on salt can be a bit difficult. Well, you don’t have to eliminate it in your diet. Proper moderation is always the key.
Here are some important ways to minimize your sodium intake:
Reduce Canned or Processed Foods. Many people consume a lot of salt from the food they eat like processed or canned foods, frozen dinners or soups. Also, other meats and poultry often contain large amounts of salt added during processing.
The best solution is to look for unsalted meats and eat fresh foods instead of eating the processed ones. Make your own stews or soups to know the ingredients put into your food. Doing these can significantly reduce your overall sodium intake.
Use Spice for Flavor. Salt is one of the most important spices used in a variety of foods. But, if your goal is to protect your heart and reduce the use of salt in your food, using spices for flavors instead of salt is a great choice.
There are a lot of delicious spices you can use when cooking. You can try chives, thyme or basic. If you like dried spices, you can find bay leaves, cumin or allspice to add flavor to your meal without sodium.
Substitute Reduced Sodium Versions or Salt Substitutes. Another way to reduce your sodium intake is to use salt substitutes or substitute reduced sodium versions. However, when using condiments or packaged foods, make sure that you choose carefully. Look for foods that are labeled sodium-free, unsalted or low sodium. When cooking, use fresh ingredients and if possible, do not cook with salt anymore.
THE DASH DIET TI LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
The DASH diet, or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension is an eating plan specifically designed to help you lower blood pressure. A high blood pressure is a major cause of stroke or hypertension, so this diet plan is designed to help protect your heart and overall health. Along with salt reduction, this diet can be more efficient than medication when it comes to lowering your blood pressure.
Start home cooking
If you want to stick to your heart-healthy diet, you must cook your own food. Since you don’t exactly know all the ingredients in foods you buy from a store, fast food or when you dine out, it can be hard to maintain a heart-healthy diet. The meals usually contain unhealthy fats and too much sugar and salt.
When you cook your own food, you have a better control of your food, including the ingredients in it. You know the nutritional content of your food and it is also a great way to save money. It has also been found that eating too much fast food can make you gain weight, so cooking at home is also beneficial for your weight loss goals.
Making and preparing a meal is less complicated and time-consuming than you probably think. You don’t also need to be a great cook to prepare some decent meals. Just some creativity and a good taste will work.
Get the Whole Family Involved. Whether it is preparing and cooking dinner, doing some groceries or cleaning the house, involving your partner and the kids is a healthy way to live. Your children will also enjoy being part of the process and cooking together will help them appreciate more the food you prepare.
Make Cooking Fun. Do you distaste cooking? Well, even if cooking is the last thing you would want to do at home, you can always make it fun if you really want. Play your favorite music, listen to the radio or your favorite audio book or sip a nice glass of wine. You can also listen to your favorite TV show on the background while you prepare meals for the family.
Make Foods Ready-to-eat. If you want to stick to your heart-healthy diet even during your busy week, preparing easily accessible foods is the key. After you come home from grocery shopping, you can cut up fruits and vegetables and just store them in the fridge. You can easily access to them when you need a quick snack or you’re ready for your next meal. This is a good tip for all busy homemakers.
Use Heart healthy cooking methods. Choosing healthy ingredients for your heart-healthy meal is just half the battle. Preparing them in the right and healthy manner is also important. Avoid frying your food. If you want to stick to the healthy ways of cooking and preparing your meals, consider roasting, baking, poaching, steaming or baking. If you want to sauté the ingredients, use only a small amount of olive oil, spices instead of salt and reduced sodium broth. Doing this can make great changes to your diet.
Cook just once or twice a week and make meals for the whole week. You can freeze large meals in small portions for the days when you are too busy to cook. When you cook a large batch for healthy food, you can just reheat the leftover for the rest of the week.
Look at Labels
If you are from the United States, look at the heart-check mark of the American Heart Association for foods that are good for the heart to meet with their criteria for cholesterol and fat.
PORTION SIZE AND YOUR WEIGHT
If you are overweight, it means that your heart should work harder, which often result in high blood pressure. It is a primary cause of heart disease that can also be detrimental. In addition to eating less unhealthy fats, salt and sugar, reducing portion sizes is a great way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This is also essential for your overall health.
Understand serving sizes. One serving size refers to a certain amount of food defined by some common measurements like pieces, ounces or cups. If you want to attain a healthy serving size, it should smaller than you are used to.
For paste, ½ cup is the recommended serving size, two to three ounces or 57 to 85 grams of chicken, fish or meat are the ideal serving size.
Eyeball it. When you already know the recommended serving size for meals, you can now estimate the appropriate portion. Use some common objects for reference if it will make things easier for you. For instance, one serving of pasta must just be about the size of a baseball. A serving of chicken, fish or meat should just be about the size of a card deck.
If you’re still hungry at the end of a meal, eat additional servings of fruits or vegetables.
Beware of restaurant portions. You should know the right serving size when eating out, as restaurants often serve more than your needs. It is healthier to order an appetizer rather than an entrée. If you choose an entrée, though, you can split it with your dining companion. If not, just take the half of your meal at home.
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