Years of eating all that fried goodness and cheesy bliss may have left your waistline in a rather unattractive state, but have you also considered what could to your heart? Although you are no stranger to the fact that an unhealthy diet can put you at risk for heart disease, it isn’t easy to change your excessive eating ways.
You don’t have to do a complete 180 to save your heart; you only have to follow these few heart-healthy diet tips in order to kick-start your path to a healthier heart.
You may be used to stuffing yourself with all the good stuff, but any doctor or dietitian would tell you that the amount of food you eat is as important as what you eat. Overloading in a buffet or finishing the large serving in the restaurant will only fill you up with unwanted and unnecessary fat, calories and worst of all, cholesterol.
The key is simply to eat more of nutritious food, filling up on vegetables and fruits and lessening your intake of fast food packed with calories and sodium. Keeping an eye on your portion size will not only help your heart, but trim your waistline as well.
Fill Up on Fruits and Vegetables
Vegetable and fruits are packed with vitamins and minerals and is also a great source of dietary fiber. Greens are low in calories and are rich in substance that can fight cardiovascular disease.
It’s always a great idea to have a stash of washed and cut fruits and vegetables stored up if your fridge in case you get hungry. Eating more of these when craving for a snack will lower your intake of high-fat food. Opt for salads or meals with more vegetables as main ingredients.
Not all recipes with vegetables are healthy though. You should avoid vegetables with creamy sauces or coconut, fried or canned vegetables and canned or frozen fruit rich in syrup.
Whole grains are a great source of fiber. Increase the amount of whole grains in your diet by substituting your refined grain products at home. Making this switch will regulate blood sugar and heart health.
Adding flax seeds in your cereal, yogurt or oatmeal is a significant way of increasing your intake in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. Grounding them makes it easier to mix in your meal.
Cut down on Fat and Cholesterol
Lowering your cholesterol, which means limiting intake of saturated and trans fat is essential in heart health. High cholesterol can lead to plaque in your arteries, putting you at risk for stroke or heart attack.
The American Heart Association suggests that for a diet of 2000 calories a day, only less than 14g should be saturated fat and only 2g should be trans fat. That means only less than 7% and 1%, respectively. Cholesterol in your diet should only be less than 300 mg a day for a healthy adult and less than 200 mg a day for someone taking cholesterol-lowering medication.
Taking a few steps on the healthy path isn’t as difficult as it seems. Gradually incorporating these steps into your diet routine will significantly improve your health. For certain, your heart and even your waistline will thank you later.