Although you may already know that eating certain foods can increase your risk of heart disease, changing eating habits is often difficult. Whether you have years of poor nutrition behind you or just want to improve your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat the most and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way to heart-healthy eating.
Control your portion sizes
The amount you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate, eating until you feel stuffed can lead to eating more calories than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs.
Use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, sodium-rich foods, such as refined, processed, or ready-to-eat foods. This strategy can shape your diet as well as your heart health.
Keep track of how many servings you eat. The recommended number of servings per food group may vary depending on the diet or guidelines you follow. A serving size is a specific amount of food, defined by common measurements such as cups, grams, or pieces. For example, a serving of pasta is about 1/3 to 1/2 cup. A serving of meat, fish or chicken is approximately 55 to 85 grams, or approximately the size and thickness of a card game. You may need to use measuring cups and spoons or a scale until you are comfortable with your estimates.
Eat more vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and high in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits, like other plants or plant-based foods, contain substances that can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help you cut down on higher calorie foods, such as meat, cheese and what you snack on automatically.
With vegetables and fruits in your diet it becomes more easy. Keep washed and cut vegetables in the refrigerator for quick snacks. Keep fruit in a bowl in your kitchen so you remember to eat it. Choose recipes that have vegetables or fruit as the main ingredients, such as stir-fried vegetables or mixed fresh fruit in salads.
- Fruits and vegetables to choose
- Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits
- Vegetables in canned low sodium
- Fruits and vegetables to limit
- Vegetables with creamy sauces
- Fried or breaded vegetables
- Canned fruit with syrup
- Frozen fruit with added sugar
Select whole grains
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products. Or be adventurous and try quinoa or barley.
Grain products to choose from
- Whole wheat flour
- Whole grain bread, preferably 85 % whole grain bread
- High fiber cereal with 5g or more of fiber in one serving
- Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat
- Whole grain pasta
Grain products to limit or avoid
- White and refined flour
- Bread white
- High Fat Crisps
Limit unhealthy fats
Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step in lowering your blood cholesterol levels and lowering your risk of coronary heart disease. High blood cholesterol can lead to a buildup of plaque in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Saturated fat: No more than 5-6% of your total daily calories, or no more than 11 at 13 g of saturated fat if you are on a diet of 2 calories per day.
or can reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by cutting fat from your meat or choosing lean meats with less 000 percent fat. You can also add less butter, margarine when cooking and serving.
You can also use low fat substitutions if possible for a heart healthy diet. For example, top your baked potato with low-fat yogurt instead of butter, or use slices of whole fruit or low-sugar fruit on your toast instead of margarine.
You can also check the food labels of some cookies, cakes, frostings. Some of them can be made with oils that contain trans fats. One clue that a food has some trans fat in it is the phrase “partially hydrogenated” in the ingredient list.
When using fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil or rapeseed oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in some fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, are also good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats, they may help lower your total blood cholesterol levels. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.
An easy way to add healthy fats (and fiber) to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies have found that flaxseeds may help lower cholesterol in some people. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and stir a teaspoon into yogurt, applesauce or hot cereal.
Fats to choose
- The oil of olive
- Rapeseed oil
- Walnut oils
- Margarine, trans fat free
- Nuts, seeds
- Bacon grease
- Cream sauce
- Non-dairy creams
- Hydrogenated margarine
- Cocoa butter, found in chocolate
- Palm, cottonseed and palm kernel oils
Choose low protein sources bold
Meat lean, poultry and fish, low fat dairy products and eggs are among your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower-fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken nuggets.
Fish is a another good alternative to high-fat meats. And some types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You’ll find the greatest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring. Other sources are flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans and rapeseed oil.
Legumes: beans, peas and lentils, are also good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, which makes them good substitutes for meat. Replacing animal protein with plant protein, for example, a soy or bean-based burger, will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and increase your fiber intake.
Proteins to choose from
Low-fat dairy products, such as skimmed or low-fat (1% ) milk, yogurt and cheese
- The fish, especially fatty cold-water fish, such as salmon
- Skinless poultry
- Soy products like soy burgers and tofu
- Lean ground meats
Proteins to limit or avoid
- Whole milk and other dairy products
- Offal, such as liver
- Fatty meats
- Hot dogs and sausages
- Fried or breaded meats
Reduce the sodium in your food
Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. It is thus recommended for:
Healthy adults: no more than 2 300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day (about one teaspoon of salt)
Most adults ideally have no more than 1 mg of sodium per day
Although the reduction in the amount of salt you add to food on the table or while cooking is a good first step, much of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups, baked goods, and frozen meals . Eating fresh foods and making your own soups and dishes can reduce the amount of salt you eat.
If you like the convenience of canned soups and prepared meals, look for those with reduced salt content. sodium. Beware of foods that claim to be lower in sodium because they are seasoned with sea salt instead of regular table salt, it is identical, sea salt has the same nutritional value as regular salt.
Another way to reduce the amount of salt you eat is to choose your condiments carefully. Many condiments are available in reduced-sodium versions, and salt substitutes can add flavor to your foods with less sodium.
Low-salt condiments and seasonings to choose from :
- Herbs and spices
- Seasoning blends salt-free
- Reduced-salt canned soups or prepared meals
- Reduced-salt versions reduced in l condiments, such as reduced-salt soy sauce
Condiments and seasonings with high salt content to limit or avoid:
- Canned soups and prepared foods, such as frozen meals
- Tomato juice
- Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and soy sauce
- Restaurant dining
Plan ahead advance: Create varied menus on a daily basis
Give yourself an occasional treat
You know what foods to make include in your heart-healthy diet and those to limit. Now it’s time to put your plans into action.
Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When choosing foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean sources of protein and healthy fats, and limit salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices.
For example, if you have salmon one night, try beans the next night. This helps ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. Variety also makes your meals and snacks more interesting.
Allow yourself an indulgence of time in time. Candy or a handful of crisps won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. But don’t let it become an excuse to give up on your healthy eating plan. If an indulgence is the exception, rather than the rule, you’ll balance things out in the long run. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.
Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you’ll find that eating heart-healthy is both doable and agreeable. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can eat with your heart in mind.
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