Heart Healthy: Diet, Food, Cooking, Tips

How Heart Healthy Is Your Diet?

When so much is spoken about the importance of staying healthy and fit, it is needless to say that your heart needs to remain healthy too. Yes, your health depends a lot on your heart’s health. Just as weight management and healthy living is important, consuming a diet, which is heart healthy is much needed. Hence, it is time to ask yourself, if your diet is heart healthy and if not, there is always room for improvement.

Heart Healthy Diet

A heart healthy diet simply means a diet that is important to keep your heart in good state, so that it is able to function effectively. This does not mean simply avoiding junk food or certain food items. It means much more, it is a change in your lifestyle, a change for your health. While excluding the foods that are detrimental to your heart is essentially important, including heart healthy foods is the key to a successful heart healthy diet plan.

Preventing Heart Disease

Today, heart disease is a major part of lifestyle disorders. However, by choosing the necessary heart friendly lifestyle options, you can surely protect your heart. The major factors that contribute to heart disease include your body weight, blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If any of these factors are out of their range, your risk for heart diseases increases.

The only way to prevent heart disease is to follow a regimen that is absolutely heart-smart that includes a heart healthy diet and heart friendly exercises. Some researchers also suggest this heart healthy plan for reversing heart diseases, which is needed if you are already experiencing some heart disorders or are at an increased risk.

Heart Healthy Diet

You can adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle if you wish to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stay healthy. The American Heart Association recommends consuming nutrient rich foods from all food groups and limiting intake of simple sugars and fats while avoiding those foods which are poor in nutrition.

Plan a heart healthy diet for yourself by choosing

  • More portions of fruits and vegetables at least 5 servings per day. There are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, while low in sodium, fat and cholesterol.
  • Whole grains and cereals like multigrain bread or pasta, brown rice and oatmeal instead of refined cereals. These are rich in vitamin B, fiber, iron and other nutrients, but low in fat and sodium.
  • Lean meat cuts and egg whites in your diet. Limit intake of egg yolk to a maximum of 3 to 4 per week. Fish is a better alternative, rich in omega-3-fatty acids; small portions can be regularly included in your diet.
  • Low fat milk and milk products like yogurt and buttermilk while avoiding cheese, butter and high fat milk products.

Heart Healthy Foods

Some foods have gained popularity as heart healthy foods or superfoods for heart disease, as they support metabolism and help to maintain weight, reduce cholesterol or they are a rich source of nutrients that are important for your heart.

If you are wondering about any healthy superfoods you should be eating for your heart health, here are to name a few. Fish particularly salmon and tuna; berries, oranges, papaya, pomegranate; avocado, spinach, broccoli, kale, tomatoes; beans and legumes; soy protein like tofu or soy milk; almonds and walnuts, oatmeal, extra virgin olive oil; flaxseeds and something that you are sure to enjoy is dark chocolate and red wine in limited quantities.

Heart Healthy Cooking

Heart smart cooking is the need of the hour. Use cooking methods like boiling, steaming, grilling and baking of meat and fish instead of deep frying. Do not forget to trim all visible fat and washing meat well before cooking or use skinless meat.

Be more creative and experiment with heart healthy superfoods. Use olive oil for cooking or in salads, limit use of salt and add healthy herbs and spices to make your meal more interesting. Basil, parsley, oregano, mint, ginger, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds and cinnamon can be some great options.

Make your food plate more colorful by including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in form of salads, preferably without dressing and soups without thickening agents.

Heart Healthy Tips

Following simple rules and slight modification in your lifestyle can help you achieve your goal of a heart healthy routine.

  • Maintain ideal weight by balancing your calorie intake and making healthier food choices.
  • Limit your salt, sugar intake and avoid saturated fats. Refrain from processed, canned and packaged meals. Check food labels and take a wise decision.
  • Avoid fat or sugar laden foods, baked foods and those made from refined grains. Avoid junk food, colas and candies; limit intake of alcohol.
  • Exercise regularly; include aerobics like walking, jogging, swimming or cycling. It is good to perform 30 minutes of physical exercises at least 5 days a week; everyday is the best. A combination of aerobic, flexibility and strengthening exercises can work well to keep you fit and active.

Healing Your Heart

Take a mindful approach to your heart healthy diet. Watch your shopping list and take active part in cooking to ensure use of heart healthy cooking methods. Realize the health benefits and act for your heart health. Exercise and healthy eating can make you feel better, calmer and healthier. Relax with meditation, manage your stress and feel the heart healthy approach from within.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 11, 2019

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