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The Heart Healthy Diet

According to the statistics cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in today's society. Our diet is a major factor that contributes to the health of our heart. Therefore, learning to make the best choices when it comes to the foods we eat is vitally important. Learn about the heart-healthy diet, the best eating plan for cardiovascular wellness!

Heart disease can take many forms and it is caused by a wide variety of factors. Risk factors such as high levels of cholesterol, hypertension, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity or diabetes are the most common culprits.
As we can see most of these factors are associated with our lifestyle and thus highly preventable. Let's take a look at the foods and changes in your diet that can help you maintain a healthy heart.

Keeping your cholesterol level in check is essential for a healthy heart. Avoiding saturated fat as well as trans fat is the best way to ensure your cholesterol level stays within the normal range.

This means that you should avoid highly processed foods and also reduce your intake of fats coming from animal sources, especially butter and red meat and choose healthy fats instead.

Some examples of healthy fat sources are seeds and nuts like walnuts almonds, peanuts and raisins.
Choose fish as a meat alternative as it contains omega 3 and omega 6 acids. Flax seeds are also good vegetable sources of omega 3 fatty acids.

Fruits and vegetables are a vital part of a healthy diet as they are important sources of vitamins and minerals as well as a source of polyunsaturated fats. Be sure to get about 5 to 7 servings daily.

Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is good for the heart under two conditions:it must be dark chocolate and it must be consumed in moderate amounts. The downside when eating chocolate is however that it can be difficult not to overeat and moreover it can trigger sweet cravings. If you are craving something sweet choose fruits.

Fiber is also important for a healthy heart so try to include whole grain and legumes to your diet. If you normally don't eat a lot of foods rich in fibers, you should introduce foods that contain fiber gradually to you diet to avoid constipation.

Limit salt to less than 3 grams a day as too much salt can put you at risk of hypertension. Avoid processed foods as they contain a lot of salt and flavor enhancers like MSG and use spices to flavor the foods you are cooking as they reduce the need for extra salt.

It is important to keep in mind that while this dietary changes are an important step in preventing heart disease,there are other factors you must take into consideration.

Daily exercise is equally important and getting at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week can greatly decrease your risk. Also, if one or more of your close relatives suffers from heart disease it's important to get regular check-ups.
Finally, managing stress effectively and quitting smoking are other aspects you may want to consider if you are trying to lower your risk of heart disease.

Tags: heart healthy diet, heart healthy food, heart disease prevention, healthy cooking, prevent heart disease, eating plan, heart disease diet, healthy diets, low cholesterol, hypertension

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