Ninety-percent of heart disease can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle and that means eating a healthy diet and being active. But what are the components of a healthy diet and what other tips can help you to eat healthily and prevent heart disease?
Top 8 Heart Healthy Diet Tips
- Limit portions
The amount of food that you eat throughout a day is important to controlling your weight; obesity can have a direct impact on your health. Become familiar with portion sizes. For example, one serving of pasta is half a cup and one serving of meat is the size and thickness of your palm or a deck of cards.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals; high in dietary fiber, yet low in calories. Fruits and vegetables can help fill you up and prevent you from snacking on unhealthy foods; keep them readily available. Vegetables and fruits contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Vegetables should make up about half of your dinner plate. Avoid vegetables that are loaded with extra sodium and fruit with sugar added.
- Choose whole grains
Fiber is a great way to help regulate blood pressure and it is found in abundance in whole grain foods. Whole-grain couscous and quinoa for example, make excellent substitutes for white rice on a dinner plate. Choose whole grain breads such as Dave’s Killer Bread or Squirrely Bread. Ground flaxseeds and Chia seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, which can lower your total blood cholesterol.
- Eat plenty of healthy fats
Healthy fats such as those found in olive oil, avocados, and raw nuts are full of omega-3 fatty acids. They can help you reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease.
- Eat protein at every meal
Fish, meat, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), and eggs are full of protein and will help you to feel satisfied for longer. Limit processed meats such as hotdogs as they are typically full of preservatives.
- Watch your sodium intake
For those at risk for high-blood pressure, a diet high in sodium is a dangerous risk. A healthy adult should not ingest more than a teaspoon a day and people over the age of 51 or those with heart disease risk factors should limit salt to about half a teaspoon a day. Watch out for sodium in processed foods and restaurant meals and choose reduced sodium condiments.
- Grocery shop wisely
Write a weekly menu with heart healthy meals and take the ingredient list with you to the grocery store. Shop mostly around the outer edges of the store where you will find dairy, meats, fruits and vegetables.
- Have a treat-every now and then
Do not completely deprive yourself of treats or you will find yourself binging. You can stay healthy as long as you eat healthily most of the time.
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