Top 5 Diet Tips for Heart Health

Heart attack and stroke are number one killers in our society, which is why taking care of your heart is so important, according to Montreal heart specialists, Cardiogenix. Eating well and exercising are two of the easiest ways to prevent heart disease. Changing your eating habits can be difficult when you are unsure where to start. Here are the top 5 diet tips to get you on the track to a healthier heart:

Portion Size

When it comes to eating healthy, quantity is just as important as quality. Taking second helpings or overloading your plate are easy ways to overeat. Try using a smaller plate to control your portion sizes. Also, eat bigger portions of low-calorie nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie foods and foods high in sodium such processed food. To keep track of your serving sizes, invest in some measuring cups and a scale. At first, it will take you a while to eyeball a serving size, but after a few months you’ll be able to do it without measuring. Eating smaller portion sizes will not only lead to a healthier heart, but also a smaller waistline.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies are good sources of vitamins and minerals. They are low in calories, yet high in dietary fiber. It has been proven that substances found in plants may help prevent heart disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables can help you eat less snack foods and high fat foods.

Unhealthy fats

Eating too many saturated and trans fats can increase your blood cholesterol and increase your risk of coronary artery disease. It can also increase your chances of heart attack and stroke. An easy way to reduce these types of fats in your diet is to limit the amount of solid fats you use in your foods, such as butter, margarine and shortening. Choosing lean proteins and cutting the fat off any meat will help you eat less fatty foods. Always opt for monounsaturated fats and poly-saturated fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Lean Protein

Lean meat, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products and eggs are good sources of protein. Opt for lower fat options such as skim milk and skinless chicken breasts. Fish is a great protein option – it is low in fat and rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which lower blood fats. Salmon, mackerel and herring are some of the healthiest options. Legumes are also good sources of protein, containing less fat and no cholesterol. Substituting plant protein for animal protein will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.

Sodium

Eating high amounts of sodium can lead to a variety of health problems such as high blood pressure, a risk factor in cardiovascular disease. Healthy adults should have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. Much of the sodium people eat comes from canned or processed foods, such as canned soup or frozen dinners. Eating fresh foods can reduce your salt intake.

Planning ahead can help you eat healthier. Many people eat unhealthy foods simply because they are often faster or deemed easier to prepare. Once you know which foods you need to include and exclude from your diet, you can create daily or weekly menus. Try emphasizing vegetables, fruits and whole grains in your meals. While it is fine to have a treat every now and then, don’t let it become a habit. Overindulgence should be the exception; this way you will balance things out over the long term. Incorporate these five tips into your daily eating habits, and you’ll find that you look and feel better, as well as improve your heart health.

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