What is a heart disease diet?
A heart disease diet is the first step to overcoming and preventing heart disease. Changing your lifestyle and eating habits to follow a heart-healthy, heart disease diet will lower your heart disease risks by helping you lose weight, lower cholesterol level, lower blood pressure, and lower triglycerides that can cause heart disease.
Simply improving the foods you eat and the way you cook those foods can reduce your risk of heart disease by up to 80%. Keep in mind; a heart disease diet should be followed in combination with a regular exercise routine.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is the leading problem of death of both men and women in the United States.
Heart disease is a medical condition that affects the heart and blood vessels. There are many types of heart disease, including atherosclerosis, heart attack, heart failure, and arrhythmia.
Heart disease causes include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, being overweight, and poor diet, among others. A heart disease diet plan is the best way to prevent your risk of heart disease and reduce heart disease risks and symptoms in those already suffering from heart disease.
Your Heart Disease Diet Plan
The first step to a heart disease diet plan is to change the foods you eat.
Decrease the number of saturated fats you eat and increase the amount of healthier monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. This will help protect your heart, lower bad cholesterol, and increase good cholesterol levels.
Good fats include olive oil, canola oil, seeds, avocados, and nuts.
Foods to avoid include red meat and full-fat dairy products such as whole milk.
While whole fat dairy products should be avoided, low-fat and non-fat dairy products are considered heart-healthy foods.
Increase your Omega-3 fatty acid intake. Omega-3 fatty acids help protect your heart and lower triglycerides.
Fatty fish such as salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed are excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Increase your lean protein intake with low cholesterol foods. High-protein food consumption helps curb hunger and appetite. Lean protein contains less cholesterol than fatty foods.
Soybeans, soy products, and beans are lean proteins that are low in cholesterol.
Increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat daily. Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and can lower cholesterol levels. It is recommended to consume at least five servings a day.
Raspberries, apples, and green leafy vegetables are great options. Variety is important to support a healthy heart.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best, heart-healthiest options. Frozen vegetables and fruits without any added sauces, sodium, and sugars are also acceptable.
Avoid canned fruits in a heavy syrup, frozen fruit with added sugar, frozen vegetables in cream sauce, and canned vegetables.
Eat fewer calories. Eating fewer calories will help you lose weight, which will put less stress and strain on your heart. Higher calorie foods generally have lower amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Avoid highly-processed foods and fast foods.
Add more whole grains to your diet. Whole grains help regulate blood pressure, regulate sugar levels, and improve your overall heart health. Whole grains contain the entire grain, while refined grains contain only the endosperm.
- Oatmeal, buckwheat, ground flaxseed, brown rice, and whole wheat flour are delicious, whole grains.
- Avoid eating refined white flour and other refined grains.
- Avoid eating fried foods and baked goods.
- Most fried foods and baked goods are full of saturated fats.
- Instead of fried foods, opt for grilled or baked lean meats without the skin.
- Instead of baked desserts, opt for fresh fruit or fruit salad.
Read the nutritional facts on all food labels.
Don’t assume foods that do not taste salty lack of sodium. Many processed foods contain large amounts of sodium. Consuming lower amounts of sodium reduces blood pressure, which in turn reduces your risk of heart disease.
Cut back on added sugars in processed foods. Added sugars increase the risks of diabetes and heart disease. Added sugars are disguised under many names on food labels. Some other names added sugar can be found under are corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, barley malt, lactose, and sorbitol. Avoid consuming foods with these and other added sugars.
To support cardiovascular health, keep track of the number of calories you consume in a day.
Tracking your calorie intake is an important step to a heart disease diet. In order to maintain a heart-healthy weight, you should eat the same amount of calories you are going to burn in a day. If you are trying to lose weight and reach your heart-healthy goal weight, you need to eat fewer calories in a day than you will burn.
Increase the amount of physical exercise you engage in every day.
A heart disease diet alone is not enough. You need to incorporate exercise into your heart disease diet plan. Exercise will help you burn more calories, lose weight, and maintain a heart-healthy weight. It is recommended by the American Heart Association to engage in forty minutes of moderate or vigorous aerobic exercise three to four times a week.
Following a heart disease diet plan will decrease your risk of heart disease, lower your cholesterol, regulate and lower your blood pressure, regulate and lower your blood sugar, lower your triglycerides, and decrease your risk of diabetes and stroke.