If you are concerned about your health or the level of cholesterol in your body, then you should start eating a heart healthy diet – to promote healthy cholesterol level, healthy blood sugar and a healthy body weight.
Just as much as weight-control and regular exercise are critical for keeping your heart in shape—the food you eat also matters as much. By embracing heart healthy foods, you can successfully lower your body’s cholesterol, prevent heart disease and take greater control of the quality of your life.
Take a step today to embrace a healthy diet that will help you reap the benefits of having a healthy heart.
Here, you can take advantage of the following tips to help you get you started:
1.Eat a balanced diet
Avoid consuming high-calorie and unhealthy foods. Rather, stack up your plate with healthy meals and eat lots of nutrient enriching foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.
You can do so by being creative with how you mix your nutrients, fiber and vitamin-rich foods to an endless array of meal varieties. This will help you adopt some healthy foods that you aren’t accustomed to eating.
2. Eat more fish
Fish is a good source of protein and other nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids – which can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
These nutrients in fish also aid the stability of various parts of the body, including the brain.
3. Eat high fiber foods
A diet high in fiber can lower “bad” cholesterol in the body and provide nutrients that can help protect against heart disease. Fiber’s role in preventing heart disease stems from its ability to lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.
Also, since fiber is a carbohydrate that the body can’t break down easily, it stays in the stomach longer than other foods and also fills you up – which helps you eat less and perhaps lose weight in the process.
4. Control the quantity of food on your plate
Asides eating less sugar, salt and unhealthy fats to have a healthier lifestyle, reducing your food portion and sizes can also aid you in maintaining a healthy body weight. Having excess body weight makes your heart work harder than it’s supposed to which, in turn, can result in high blood pressure or heart disease.
5. Limit the consumption of trans-fatty acids
Trans-fatty acids can raise your “bad” cholesterol level and lower your “good” cholesterol level while increasing the chances of heart problems and stroke.
To prevent this outcome, try replacing unhealthy fats with good fats or you should try to limit their intake.
6. Replace ‘Saturated Fats’ with ‘Unsaturated Fats’
Unsaturated fats are essential for both heart and overall physical health. They can improve blood cholesterol levels and lower your risk of heart disease.
They also keep you feeling fuller and satisfied for a longer time, thus helping you to eat less eventually.
You can make the switch by following these steps:
- Avoid fat from processed meats, packaged meals and takeout food.
- Don’t replace healthy saturated fat with sugary snacks.
- Don’t eat only red meat but vary your diet with chicken, eggs, fish and other sources of protein.
- Roast or grill meat and poultry instead of frying.
- Avoid deep-fried foods.
7. Reduce your salt intake
Reducing the salt in your food is a big part of any heart-healthy diet. Much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods which are often salted during processing.
Eat fresh foods and make your own soups or stews to drastically reduce your salt intake.
8. Rekindle home cooking
It’s very difficult to eat right when you’re eating out a lot, ordering in foods or taking other processed foods.
It’s time you know that making quick, heart healthy meals is easier and less time-consuming than you think. So, start making conscious effort to cook more at home, especially by cooking a large batch of heart healthy food for yourself and your family.
9. Avoid processed foods
Cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate and cakes. Instead, eat naturally sweet foods like fruits. Also, avoid canned foods or meals, they often contain hidden sugar.
10. Exercise frequently
A moderate amount of exercise done frequently will improve the state of your heart health by getting rid of excess fat generated from your meals.
Exercise regularly so that you burn as many calories as you consume to maintain a healthy weight.
In all, you don’t have to do everything at once, but you can start with small changes and get more benefit from making these changes.
Trust that as you adapt to these changes, over time, they will add up and make a big difference in your health.