8 Steps to Prevent Heart Disease. Healthy Food for Heart

Ready to start your heart-healthy diet? Here are eight tips to get you started with healthy food for heart.

Although you surely know that eating healthy food for heart can increase your risk of heart disease, it is often difficult to change your eating habits. Whether you've been eating unhealthy for several years or just want to adjust your diet, here are eight tips for a heart-healthy diet. Once you know which foods to eat the most and which to limit, you are on your way to a heart-healthy diet.

1. Control your portion sizes

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eat always healthy food for heart if you overload your plate, eat too quickly, and don't stop until you're full, you're probably consuming more calories than you should. Often times, the portions served in restaurants are more than anyone needs.

Use a small plate or bowl to help you control your portions. Eat larger servings of nutrient-dense, low-calorie foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as fast, refined, or processed foods. With this strategy, you can get your diet, heart, and waist in shape.

Keep track of the number of servings you eat. The recommended number of servings per food group may vary based on the specific diet or guidelines you are following. A serving size is a certain amount of food, defined by common measurements, such as cups, ounces, or chunks. For example, one serving of pasta is about 1/3 to 1/2 cup or the size of a hockey puck. A serving of meat, fish, or chicken is 2 to 3 ounces (55 to 85 g), or about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Knowing how to determine portion sizes is a learned skill. You may need to use measuring cups and spoons or a scale until you find that you can determine portion sizes without help.

2. 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 and plant-based foods, have substances that help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help cut down on higher-calorie foods, like meat, cheese, and snacks.

Incorporating vegetables and fruits into your diet can be easy. Keep washed and cut vegetables in the refrigerator for quick snacks. Put the fruits in a bowl in the kitchen so you remember to eat them. Choose recipes that have vegetables or fruits as the main ingredients, for example, sauteed vegetables or fresh fruits mixed in salads.

 3. Choose whole grains

Whole grains are a good source of fiber and nutrients that play an important role in regulating blood pressure and in heart health. To increase the number of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet, substitute refined grain products. Or, go ahead and try a different whole grain, like whole-wheat farro, quinoa, or barley.

4. Limit your intake of unhealthy fats

Limiting the amount of saturated fat and trans the fat you eat is an important step in lowering your blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of coronary artery disease. A high level of cholesterol in the blood can cause a build-up of platelets in the arteries, called "atherosclerosis," which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.

You can reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by cutting fat from meat or by choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat. Plus, you can add less butter, margarine, and fat when cooking and serving.

You can also use low-fat substitutes when possible to eat a heart-healthy diet. For example, season baked potato with low-sodium sauce or low-fat yogurt instead of butter, or use the sliced ​​whole fruit or a low-sugar fruit spread on toast instead. of margarine.

You may also want to check the information labels on some cookies, cakes, icings, crackers, and potato chips. Many of these foods - even those that say "reduced fat" - can be made with oils that contain trans fats. One indication that food contains some trans fat is the use of the phrase "partially hydrogenated" in the ingredient list.

When using fats, choose monounsaturated fats, like olive oil or canola oil. Polyunsaturated fats, found in certain fish, avocado, nuts, and seeds, are also a good choice for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fats, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats can help lower your total blood cholesterol level. But it is essential that you be moderate. All types of fat are high in calories.

An easy way to add healthy fats (and fiber) to your diet is to eat ground flax seeds. Flax seeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Some studies have shown that flax seeds can help some people lower cholesterol, but more research is needed. You can grind the seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor and mix a teaspoon into yogurt, applesauce, or hot cereal.

 5. Choose low-fat protein sources

Lean meat, poultry, and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are the best sources of protein. But pay attention and choose lower-fat options, such as skim milk over whole milk and skinless chicken breasts over fried chicken burgers.

Fish is another great alternative to replace high-fat meats. And certain types of fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood fats called "triglycerides." The fish with the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring. Other sources are flax seeds, walnuts, soybeans, and canola oil.

Legumes (beans, peas, and lentils) are also good sources of protein, contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. By substituting plant proteins for animal proteins (for example, a soy or bean burger instead of a meat one), you will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and increase your fiber intake.

6. Reduce sodium in your meals

Eating too much sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Cutting down on sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. The American Heart Association recommends the following:

·         Healthy adults should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium per day (about a teaspoon of salt)

·         Most adults should have less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day

While adding less salt to food when it's already served or while cooking is a good first step, most of the salt you eat comes from canned or processed foods, such as soups, baked goods, and frozen foods. Choosing fresh foods and preparing soups and stews you can help you reduce the amount of salt you consume.

If canned soups and prepared foods are practical for you, choose those that are low in sodium. Be wary of foods that claim to be lower in sodium, as they are seasoned with sea salt rather than regular table salt and sea salt has the same nutritional value as common salt.

Another way to reduce the amount of salt you consume is to pay attention when choosing seasonings. Many seasonings offer a reduced-sodium version, and salt substitutes can add flavor to your food with less sodium.

 7. Plan Ahead: Create Daily Menus

You know which foods to include in a heart-healthy diet and which to limit. Now is the time to put your plan into action.

Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When choosing foods for every meal and snack, prefer vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and healthy fats, and limit salty foods. Monitor portion sizes and adds variety to your menu options.

For example, if you eat grilled salmon one night, have a black bean burger the next night. This helps you ensure that you are getting all the nutrients your body needs. The variety also makes your meals and snacks more interesting.

8. Treat yourself once in a while

You can indulge in a treat from time to time. A candy bar or a handful of potato chips won't derail your heart-healthy diet. But don't let it become an excuse to abandon your healthy eating plan. If this abuse becomes the exception rather than the rule, you can make up for things over time. The important thing is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.

Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you'll discover that a heart-healthy diet is something you can do and enjoy. With a little planning and a few simple replacements, you can eat with your heart in mind.

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