Heart Healthy Diet

For a heart healthy diet, you need to choose the right foods. Statistics show that heart disease is one of the major killer diseases in the west, with more than 2500 people dying of heart disease each day in the US alone.

Plant based foods constitute inherently heart healthy Diet

Here are some guidelines to help you choose a diet that's good for your heart.
Cut down on saturated fats (mostly obtained from animal products like meat and dairy foods) and trans fats (found in many processed foods). Substitute with vegetable oils such as olive, canola and sunflower oils.

Get your daily allowance of proteins from, lentils, soy products, beans and whole grains.

Reduce the amount of high-sugar, high-fat junk foods you eat. Cut them out completely if possible.

Choose whole grains foods whenever you can. Look for whole wheat pasta, whole meal bread, whole grain unsweetened breakfast cereals.

Make sure you get at least five portions a day of fruits and vegetables. Pick a range of colors to get a good variety of nutrients, and try to eat more veg than fruit overall.

Snack on a handful of nuts and seeds (especially, walnuts, almonds, flax seeds) daily they contain a special kind of heart-healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids, also found in olive oil.

Sodium is a mineral found in salt, and eating too much of it can raise your blood pressure and retains water in your body. The Recommended Daily Amount of sodium in the US is under 2400mg, the amount found in one teaspoon of salt. The RDA of sodium in the UK is even lower, at 1600mg. Yet processed foods are often high in salt/sodium, and can easily increase your intake up to four or five teaspoons a day. Read labels for sodium content. A low-sodium food should contain no more than 0.1g sodium per 100g. Avoid high-sodium foods, which could have 0.5g of sodium per 100g or more. Don't add extra salt in cooking, or at the table.

Cut down on alcohol. Limited intake of red wine is considered healthy.

Alongside your heart healthy diet, aim to take more exercise, and quit smoking altogether.

How can a heart healthy diet protect my heart?

To help prevent all the cardiovascular diseases coronary heart disease, heart attack, angina, stroke - you should pay attention to your blood cholesterol levels. Cholesterol, a fatty substance made by the liver, does have various uses in the body, but if its level in your blood is too high then the cholesterol can create plaque deposits on the inner walls of arteries, which then narrow and harden. This hinders the flow of blood, and if an artery becomes completely blocked, preventing blood from flowing to part of the heart, you could end up the victim of a heart attack. High blood cholesterol can also lead to raised blood pressure, as the heart has to work harder to pump the blood through the narrowed arteries. A heart-healthy diet can help protect your heart by:
Lowering your cholesterol.

Keeping your arteries in good shape, free of deposits and flexible.

Maintaining your blood pressure within the normal range.

Helping you to lose weight if you need to, and then maintain your weight loss.

Being good for your general well being, and also protecting you against other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and some forms of cancer.

Follow these tips to make sure you have a truly heart healthy diet and you'll be on the road to a healthy heart and better fitness.

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