Love your heart: Heart health ideas
Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in most people around the world today. With poor diet and lack of exercise, the number of people who will die from heart disease will continue to rise. If you want to lower risk of heart disease, you need to take a look at your current diet and daily routine. You may also want to get a physical and have a talk with your doctor about your current situation and what you can do to improve your health.
The first step is to go on a Heart Healthy diet. A heart healthy diet consists of eating lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and beans plus eating foods that are low in salts. If you’ve spent most of your life eating food high in saturated fats like fried foods, you may find it to be a bit of a struggle at first. However, you don’t need to switch to a heart healthy diet overnight. You can do it slowly and gradually until you are used to it. Even small changes in your diet over time can lower your risk of heart disease or heart attack. We’ll take a look at what you need to monitor when you begin your Heart Healthy Diet.
Bulk up on fiber
Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains is among the top strategies you can do to fight heart disease. Bulking up on fiber and eating it every day can significantly reduce your bad cholesterol levels.
You can, day by day, incorporate about 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables each day and aim for at least 2-3 servings of whole grains and nuts per week.
Don’t skip meals
People who tend to skip breakfast or any important meal of the day thinks that they will lose weight but the truth is, it will only yield to overeating. Overeating can result in high caloric and high fat food consumption which is a big no-no for your heart.
Instead of feeling guilty for skipping meals and overeating, you can instead practice good eating habits. Try to follow a plan of eating small, but frequent, meals each day which can amount to about 5-6 mini meals full of nutritious foods. This will make your stomach feel full and decrease your cravings.
Introduce yourself to omega 3
Omega 3 fatty acids are known as good fat and bring many benefits to your heart and overall health. Food sources that are rich in omega 3 are mainly found in cold water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel. With that being said, including fish or fish oil supplements in your daily meal plan can help boost your good cholesterol.
Avoid processed and fatty foods
Fast foods may seem yummy and convenient for busy people who haven’t got the time to cook their own meals at home. Although they seem and taste delicious, they are full of preservatives, fat and even sodium. As much as possible, if you want to prevent having future heart attacks and stroke, you need to avoid eating processed foods.
Instead, make time to prepare your own meals and incorporate all nutritious foods on them. Preparing and cooking your own food will give you an idea of how much fat and how many calories you’re taking in. Plus, you wouldn’t have to wonder what is actually in those burgers and worry if they’re safe to eat.
Watch your portions
Many people today simply eat more than the recommended serving. It’s crucial that you read the labels to determine exactly what is one serving. You’ll find that one serving for a meal could be about the size of a deck of cards instead of a full plate. You should try to measure each serving in the beginning and eventually you’ll be able to figure it out by sight.
One way to avoid eating too much is to eat very small portions throughout the day. There is no law that says you have to eat three square meals a day. By eating many smaller portions, you’ll not only feel more satisfied; but you’ll also have more energy throughout the day.
Limit your intake of salt and sodium
Reducing salt and sodium in your diet will help you lower your blood pressure, which in turn, will reduce the stress on your heart. As much as possible, you should try to use as little salt as possible or no salt at all when preparing your meals. While your food will taste bland in the beginning, your taste buds will eventually adjust and appreciate the true flavor.
You should also make an effort to pick packaged foods that are low in sodium and try to avoid snacking too much on chips or fast food. You should also stay away from processed meats and canned foods not labeled as low-sodium since they tend to be very high in sodium content. However, you will find that once you get used to eating foods low in salt, you will not enjoy snacking on chips and spam.
Limit your intake of saturated fats
Eating foods that are high in saturated fats is the biggest culprit for high cholesterol. You should make every effort to cut down the amount of saturated fat you eat. It is not that difficult to do. You can reduce fat when you cook by grilling, steaming, baking or broiling. If you need to fry your dish, use olive oil or canola oil and cook it in a wok since they do not as much oil as regular frying pans. Removing fat from beef or pork and removing the skin from poultry can also reduce the amount of fat.
Limit your alcohol
If you are a daily drinker, you should limit your alcohol intake to no more than two drinks a day for men and on drink a day for women. Having one glass alcohol with a meal has shown some health benefits. For example, in the Mediterranean diet, it’s recommended that you have one serving of alcohol, like a six-ounce glass of wine, with one of your meals. However, drinking more than the recommended amount can cause all sorts of health issues besides heart disease like liver damage.
By simply watching and monitoring what you eat and how much you eat will have an impact on your health. As long as you do everything in moderation, you will make great strides in reducing your risk of heart disease or heart attack. Coupled with eating healthier foods and working with your physician, you can expect to have a long and healthy life.
Lastly, you shouldn’t be bored with this type of diet because there are so many delicious meals that can be made with the foods mentioned here. You are not sacrificing taste when you decide to go for this lifestyle change, but instead preventing future problems while staying in good physical shape. A heart healthy diet promises a whole life of good nutrition and good health plus the bonus of looking good and living well.