Please note: This article contains general information only and is not intended as medical advice. You should always consult your doctor before making any dietary changes.
We all know the overconsumption of certain foods can put us at greater risk for heart disease. However, many of us ignore the dangers and eat these foods anyway. In a way, this is understandable. Eating a healthy diet is tough, especially when you’re busy.
Thankfully, eating for heart health doesn’t have to be overly complicated. If you’re committed to eating better to prevent heart disease, the dietary changes listed below can put you on the path to better heart health in no time.
1. Eat Out Less, Cook Meals at Home
If you’re eating out a lot because it’s convenient, one of the best things you can do for heart health is to cook more at home. Home-cooked foods are usually healthier than fast foods, and if you use the best ceramic cookware, you won’t need additional fats or oils to keep food from sticking. This will further reduce the unhealthy fats and calories you eat, ultimately reducing your heart disease risk.
2. Eat More Fruits and Veggies
There are many benefits to eating more fruits and vegetables. First, these foods contain lots of dietary fiber, which is always a good thing. Second, fruits and veggies are low in calories, which can help you feel full without loading you down with excess fat or sugar. Third, vegetables and fruits contain abundant vitamins and minerals that promote good cardiovascular health.
So keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed and ready to eat at all times. Doing so will make them easy to grab and go.
3. Eat Smaller Portions
It’s no secret that Americans eat way more than they need. We are the land of plenty, after all. Unfortunately, eating in excess has put us all at risk for poor heart health. However, by committing to consuming smaller portions (by paying attention to portion recommendations and not taking seconds), you can reduce your risk of experiencing a major cardiovascular event.
4. Choose Whole Grains Over Refined Grains
Whole grains contain fiber and nutrients your body needs, whereas refined grains do not. Eating whole grains can help reduce blood pressure and promote good heart health. Some whole-grain foods to consider include quinoa, 100-percent whole-wheat bread, high-fiber cereals, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-wheat pasta.
5. Embrace Oily Fish
Fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel contain Omega-3 fatty acids. You’ve probably heard of this nutrient, but many people don’t realize its health benefits. Eating oily fish such as these can decrease the triglycerides (bad fats) in your blood and increase your body's HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Further, Omega-3 fatty acids thin the blood, reduce the risk of blood clots and improve blood vessel elasticity.
6. Drink Tea or Coffee
If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, you are already on the path to good heart health. Studies suggest that drinking these beverages daily (in moderate amounts, of course) can reduce the number of fatty deposits in your arteries while improving blood vessel dilation for increased blood flow. Avid drinkers of these beverages may also ward off heart failure.
There are many things you can do to improve the health of your heart and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it does give you plenty of ways to start improving your heart health today. Just remember to speak to your treating medical professional before making any significant changes to your diet.
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