When it comes to your heart health, prevention is your best bet. If you are looking for the best ways to kick start your heart-healthy lifestyle, look at your diet. The food you eat has a high impact on your heart and unhealthy eating and a wrong lifestyle can do a lot of harm. Here are some tips for heart smart diet choices to combat or fight heart diseases.
Cut down on fat intake
To prevent or reduce heart ailments, you need to choose the right types of fats and eat less fat in general. Avoid fats that elevate cholesterol levels: saturated fats and trans fatty acids and use healthier oils like olive oil, soybean oil or rice bran oil.
Reduce salt intake
Excess salt in your diet can cause blood pressure elevation which increases the development of heart problems. You can cut off excess salt intake by using less salt for cooking, avoiding table salt while eating, cutting down on processed and canned foods and avoiding crackers and snacks which are high in salt.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in fiber and are power packed with vitamins and minerals. The fiber and antioxidant properties of various fruits and vegetables help in the prevention of heart diseases. Eating fresh produce can keep you full for a longer period of time and reduce your chances for opting for unhealthy snacks.
Maintain a healthy body weight
Being overweight can increase the risk of heart disease. Obesity caused by excess fat deposits in your body brings along with it a range of complex health issues. Maintain an ideal body weight for your height and age. A lifestyle change, balanced diet, and moderate physical activity can help you attain your desirable weight.
Consume fish twice a week
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which prevent against heart diseases. The vegetarian sources of omega – 3 fatty acids are flax seeds, rapeseed oil or walnuts.
Limit sugar intake
Sugar provides easily digestible and readily absorbable carbohydrates. A lot of people do not know that sugar plays just as much of a role in heart disease as fats. Excess sugar is converted to fat and is stored in the body. Eating more than what is required can cause weight gain, elevated blood pressure and contribute as risk factors for diabetes. Not more than 6-8 tbsp of table sugar should be consumed in a day.
Control your portions
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Keep a check on the quantity that you eat. Use smaller plates, cups and serving spoons. Do not put excess food on your plate and refrain from second helpings. While eating out at restaurants, do not order more than what is required and stop when you are full. Avoid storing super-sized food packages at home.
Consume these secret superfoods
Foods that have antioxidant properties reduce inflammation, reduces “bad” cholesterol and increases the “good” cholesterol, keeps your blood pressure in the desirable range and boosts your immunity. Foods like garlic, onions, cruciferous vegetables, berries, oranges, flax seed, and nuts do better than you think.
A Sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of developing heart diseases. Physical activity keeps your weight in check, improves your heart rate, pumps more oxygen into your blood and keeps your heart healthy. Indulging in at least 30 mins of aerobic exercise has proven to improve your blood pressure and reduce the damage and stress your heart goes through.
Make daily menus and plans
Practice daily regime of diet goals and aim for a healthier lifestyle. Plan your menu a day prior and try sticking to it. Account for the foods and the amounts you eat and assess yourself. Check your blood pressure routinely and give your heart the best TLC.