Heart Healthy Foods
A healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons to prevent and fight disease. We know that making nutritious food choices and engaging in physical activity throughout the day are two excellent ways to help keep your family healthy.
Sadly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, but with lifestyle and diet changes we can prevent some of its risk factors such as high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. Other factors like age, gender, and family history cannot be controlled, so talking with your doctor about heart health or risks is very important too.
Here are some steps and foods that can promote a healthy heart:
1. Add variety to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, skinless poultry and fish, nuts and legumes and non-tropical vegetable oils. Limit consumption of saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, red meat, sweets, and sugar-sweetened beverages. Aim to have one-half of your plate filled with fruits and vegetables.
2. Fiber foods are great because they can bind with bad cholesterol and remove it from the body. Foods high in dietary fiber include whole grains, vegetables and fruit.
3. Add plant-based proteins to your meals. Don’t be afraid to alternate between animal protein and vegetable protein. This will help to add variety and add more nutrients to your diet. Plant-based proteins are also filled with fiber.
4. Improve “good” cholesterol by consuming unsaturated fats from foods such as nuts, olives, avocados, and fatty fish.
5. Reduce sodium (salt). Eating less sodium can reduce your risk for high blood pressure, bloating, and stave off other negative effects of too much salt in the diet. Therefore, study the Nutrition Facts label on everything you eat and choose foods that are lower in sodium. Look for the low-sodium or “no salt added” types of canned products.
6. Move! Regular, moderate physical activity lowers blood pressure and helps your body control stress and weight. Be physically active in your own way.
7. Manage stress. Identify mechanisms that will help reduce your stress levels. Activities like walks, yoga, meditation, dancing, or anything you like—do it!
8. Tobacco free. Don’t smoke, vape or use tobacco or nicotine products—and of course, avoid second-hand smoke or vapor.