Weight control and regular exercising are critical for keeping your heart in good shape – but, it is important to note that whatever you eat may matter just as much! You would be surprised to know but a heart-healthy diet can reduce your risk of developing various heart diseases and even stroke up to 80%. For this, all you need to do is to understand what all foods and methods of cooking are the best and healthiest for your heart. This will not only allow you to better manage and prevent heart diseases and high blood pressure, but will also help you take greater control over the quality and length of your life!
What Can You Do To Prevent Heart Diseases?
Various types of heart diseases are the leading cause of death for men and women, but that certainly does not mean you cannot protect yourself. In addition to performing regular exercises, you need to be extra careful about what you eat and what you don’t eat. This will help you keep a check on your cholesterol levels and healthy blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Plus, you would also be able to maintain an overall healthy weight. In case, you’ve already been diagnosed with any type of heart diseases or are suffering from high cholesterol or blood pressure problems, choosing a heart-healthy diet, would help you better manage all such conditions while lowering your risk of getting heart attack.
Selecting a diet good for your heart-health is a crucial step towards preventing the risk of developing heart related diseases. However, you may feel unsure where to begin from. To make it easy for you – take a look at the bigger picture!
The overall eating pattern you pick is far more important than being obsessed with individual foods. Remember, no single food can make you magically healthy. Therefore, your goal should be to incorporate a variety of heart-healthy foods, all prepared in a healthy way – which become an essential part of your new lifestyle.
Heart Healthy Diet Tips
Tip 1: Cut Down on Saturated and Trans Fats
Of all the possible improvements you can make to follow a heart-healthy diet plan, cutting down on saturated and trans fats should be your number one priority. Both these fats are known to raise your LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels that can increase your risk for heart attack and strokes. Fortunately, there are numerous ways to control your saturated and trans fat intake – here’s how:
Check all labels: Whatever food you eat, make sure you check their labels first. This is because, majority of snacks, including the ones marked as “reduced fats” are prepared with oils containing trans fats.
Limit your solid fat intake: Minimize the consumption of solid fats, such as margarine, butter or even the shortenings added to food while cooking or serving.
Pick alternatives: You can easily swap high-fat foods with their low-fat counterparts.
Change your habits: The best way to avoid saturated and trans fats is to work on your habits. This means, instead of eating snacks like chips, you should prefer munching on fresh fruits and vegetables.
Some Fats Can Be Good For Your Heart Too
While saturated and trans fats can be big roadblocks on your way to a healthy heart, unsaturated fats on the other hand, are essentially good for your overall health. These “good” fats include:
Omega-3 fatty acids: Fatty fish like trout or salmon and walnuts, flaxseed, etc. are rich source of polyunsaturated fats which are essential for body.
Omega 6 fatty acids: Soy nuts, vegetable oils and other types of seeds are naturally rich in healthy fats.
Monounsaturated fats: Peanuts, almonds, cashews and butters made from all these nuts provide “good” fats in great quantities.
Tip 2: Prefer Low Cholesterol Foods
Unhealthy cholesterol levels can increase your risk of heart diseases; therefore it is advisable keep your levels low for a healthy heart. Here again, your diet is central to maintaining your cholesterol. While some foods are known to lower the cholesterol, others can make matters worse.
Say no to saturated fats and trans fats: Foods containing saturated and trans fats can increase your cholesterol levels significantly, as compared to foods containing cholesterol, thereby increase your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. So, avoid foods containing these fats.
Shop wisely: To follow a heart-healthy diet, choose foods rich in protein, fiber and unsaturated fats. Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as seeds and nuts are great cholesterol regulators.
Don’t always trust the labels: Scanning food labels can at times be complicated, since packaged foods with labels stating, “low cholesterol” or “cholesterol free” are not necessarily heart healthy. In fact, these can even contain heart-risky cholesterol. So, it is advisable you stick to the basics of fruits, vegetables, proteins and nuts.
Lowering Your Cholesterol with Fish Oil Supplements
To follow a complete heart-healthy diet, you can add fish such as trout and salmon to your diet, at least twice a week. This will help you lower your cholesterol levels to a great extent and thus reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. Alternatively, you can choose you have, high quality omega-3 supplement, such as Omega TriplExpert by iOTH to support your cardiovascular health.
Tip 3: High-Fiber Foods Are Good For You
High-fiber diet helps in lowering bad cholesterol while providing nutrients that work to protect against heart diseases. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables form an essential part of heart-healthy diet as they are one of the richest sources of high-fiber foods.
It should be noted that processed and refined foods have reduced fiber levels, therefore it is important you make whole grains an integral part of your daily diet. Mentioned below are the simple ways to help you add whole grains to your daily meals:
Choose a high-fiber breakfast: Prefer taking a breakfast cereal that offers more than one gram of fiber per serving.
Keep trying new grains: You can experiment with wild rice, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and barley.
Check what you are backing: When you are backing at home, swap whole-grain flour with white flour and in yeast breads, make use of extra yeast or allow the dough to raise longer.