Make your heart-healthy diet plan meaningful with varieties of nutritious-dense foods. Love your heart and live a healthy life!
What is a Heart Healthy Diet?
A heart-healthy diet is a nutritional plan purposely to improve your cardiovascular health and lower your heart disease risk. It consists of various nutrient-rich foods.
Heart disease is one of the primary causes of death for both men and women. Aside from having a weight loss program, eating nutritious foods is also a fundamental element in maintaining a healthy heart.
Having a heart-healthy diet and keeping a healthy lifestyle may decrease your chance of developing heart disease by 80%. Achieving all the nutrients you need is as much as eating varieties of healthy foods.
The following heart-healthy diet recommendations can help you control the progress of cardiovascular diseases.
Steps to Prevent Heart Disease
Experts suggest diverse techniques that are accessible online. These approaches encourage people to develop a healthy eating pattern.
1. Control your Portion Size
Keep your heart healthy, stick on your healthy eating pattern, control your daily calorie consumption, and limit your serving size by using a small plate every time you eat.
Dietary Recommendations for the Right Number of Calories
Average woman: only take 1,500 calories a day to shed one pound each week.
Average man: only consume 2,000 calories a day to lose one pound each week.
Furthermore, reduce your intake of sugary and fatty-rich foods like cake, ice cream, fast foods, and processed foods. And prioritize eating nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables. This approach can help improve heart health and hasten weight loss.
Being overweight prompts your heart to perform harder work that may cause high blood pressure and heart disease. So it's better to eat a combination of nutritious foods that contain vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. And most importantly, these foods are low in calories, and they may help you lose weight.
Follow these examples of dietary recommendations.
Every week, you can enjoy 8 to 9 servings of poultry, meat, and eggs, 2 to 3 servings of fish and other seafood, and 5 servings of nuts, beans, and legumes.
2. Eat More Vegetables and Fruit
Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals. They contain fewer calories, more dietary fiber, and essential substances that may help promote cardiovascular health.
Substitute calorie-rich foods with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Instead of fast foods, take freshly cut fruits as your snacks. Choose a menu that includes vegetables or fruits as its main ingredients.
Generally, fruits and vegetables are nutritious. You can enjoy 4 servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables daily.
Let's take a look at some of their examples.
Papaya, oranges, cantaloupe, apricots are rich in beta-carotene, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Berries are rich in polyphenols like raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, highbush blueberries, and black chokeberry. They also contain vitamin C and fiber that helps lower your risk of stroke.
Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids known for reducing your total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL) level while increasing your good cholesterol (HDL) level.
Yellow, orange, and red vegetables like squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers, and tomatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, potassium, and fiber.
Dark green leafy vegetables are natural sources of nutrients. They are rich in vitamins A, C, K, folate, folic acid, riboflavin, tocopherols, and beta carotene. They also contain minerals (like iron, calcium, phosphorous) and fiber.
- Swiss chard
- Romaine lettuce
- Collard green
- Bok choy
- Turnip greens
- Beet greens
Broccoli and asparagus are full of vitamins (A, C, & E) sodium, potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, fiber, and more.
3. Select Whole Grains
Whole grains comprise a high amount of fiber and other essential nutrients that can help regulate blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk. Substitute refined grain products with whole grains to achieve a heart-healthy diet.
- brown rice
- whole-grain pasta
- whole-wheat flour
- white bread
- buttered popcorn
4. Limit Unhealthy Fats
Narrowing down your intake of saturated and trans fats from the foods you eat is essential in lowering your bad cholesterol (LDL) level and your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglyceride level) can cause atherosclerosis - the buildup of unhealthy fats and cholesterol in your arterial walls that can cause restriction of blood flow due. You are likely to develop cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks and strokes) when there's a blockage in your arteries.
You should avoid trans fat, but for saturated fat, don't exceed your daily calorie intake by 5 to 6%. It means that if you're taking 2,000 calories per day based on your diet plan, don't exceed 11 to 13 grams of saturated fat.
5. Choose Low-fat Protein Sources
Several studies recommend that a high-protein diet helps you lose weight and improves your metabolic health. Plan a healthy eating pattern and indulge yourself with low-fat protein sources like:
- Low-fat dairy products
- Lean meat
Instead of fried chicken patties and whole milk, better buy skim milk and skinless chicken breasts since they contain less fat.
Furthermore, fishes like salmon and mackerel are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids - these are essential fats that can help reduce high triglycerides. Legumes and beans are also rich in protein. They are an excellent substitute for meat.
6. Reduce the Sodium in your Food
Consuming a high amount of sodium can cause high blood pressure, a triggering factor for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, cutting down sodium intake is crucial in maintaining a healthy heart.
The dietary guidelines from the American Heart Association (AHA) say that a healthy adult can take a limit of 2,300 mg of sodium (equivalent to a teaspoon of salt) per day. Ideally, most adults should consume the right amount of sodium by not exceeding 1,500 mg per day.
7. Plan Ahead by Creating Daily Menus
Make your heart-healthy diet exciting by planning ahead of time and creating daily menus. Combine your favorite foods you think that works best for your diet plan.
Make sure to incorporate fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Add healthy fats, protein-rich foods, and avoid sodium-rich foods. Follow your portion sizes, pick varieties of your food choices, and sustain healthy eating habits.
Explore New Flavors
- Use dried herbs and spices as a substitute for salt. These substances can lower high blood pressure.
- Cook your chicken by using rosemary, sage, or garlic to add a flavorful taste.
- Use dill or tarragon when cooking fish to produce a tasty dish.
- Incorporate vinegar on some of your recipes to give your food a more exquisite taste.
Having a diverse food types makes your mealtime more satisfying. It will guarantee that you'll acquire all of the nutrients you need.
8. Allow Yourself an Occasional Treat
Treating yourself with your favorite foods once in a while is acceptable. Eating a slice of cake or pizza during your afternoon snack won't ruin your heart-healthy diet. You may schedule your cheat day once at any time of the week and eat whatever you want with supreme enjoyment and minimum guilt.
However, don't make it an excuse to give up your healthy-eating program. You can eat more during your cheat day, but make sure to refresh your system with nutritious-dense foods throughout the week.
A heart-healthy diet consists of several nutritious foods that come from all the food groups. Follow a healthy dietary pattern that includes a large portion of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, whole grains, skinless poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and non-tropical vegetable oils.
And most importantly, consume a small portion of foods rich in Trans fat, saturated fat, sugar, and sodium and avoid sugar-sweetened drinks.
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