Eating a heart-healthy diet to prevent heart diseases

Many people experience bad cholesterol or poor health at some point in their lives. It’s hard to eat healthy for a whole lifetime, as temptations are all around us. Eating healthy for your heart, though, is one of the most important things a person can do. This is what keeps us alive, so we need to make sure it’s as healthy as it can be.

It is common knowledge that foods high in saturated fats will raise cholesterol levels, which can put you at risk for heart disease. There is a medical gauge that relates to your Body Mass Index (BMI), which indicates your level of body mass. People who have a high BMI of 40, are considered obese, and may be at risk for heart disease. Inflammation of the heart will also eventually lead to heart disease. Diets high in sodium will increase this risk, and may also raise your blood pressure.

Eat Plenty of Fish
Consumption of omega 3 fatty acids can be an important tool in staying healthy. They can help to lower your cholesterol levels. Although not all fish contain omega 3 and fatty acids, these essential nutrients can be found in herring, sardines, and salmon. There are other food items that omega 3 fatty acids can be found in smaller quantities, however these selections will provide ample amounts to allow your body to process.

Choose Healthy Fats and Oils
A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming if you are trying to maintain a healthy diet. Often times, it is difficult to even know the difference between what is good for your body and what is not. There are so many options to choose from, and media and packaging play a role in our interpretation of what is healthy for us. For example, many people have a perception that eating fat-free foods will help them lose weight. This is not entirely true. The body needs some fat intake otherwise it is possible that the opposite effect can occur. However still, people will purchase pre-packaged foods that boast fat-free content with expectations that may not be realistic.

We all now know that saturated fats will increase the risk of heart disease. As stated earlier, saturated fats are found in meats, butter, and coconut oil. If you are not in a healthy range of BMI for your age and height, try substituting seafood and nuts for meats.

There are good fats, though, that actually protect your heart. Mono-unsaturated fat found in olive oil is an example, and is the better choice for cooking, dressing, or even dipping foods. Take the time to research between healthy and unhealthy fats and likely your diet contains a little bit of both. Knowing the difference will help you know which items to cut out of your diet and will prevent you from cutting items that you body likely is depending on.

Eat Plenty of Fiber
Fiber is another way to help control your cholesterol. Eating a diet high in fiber can control sugar as well, which will help keep your digestive system regular. Not taking in enough fiber can have detrimental effects on your digestive system including constipation and other colonic incidences. Maintaining your fiber content will allow your body to properly digest food and maintain your overall health.

Choose Carbohydrates Carefully
A good way to keep your heart healthy is to avoid sugary foods such as candy, cookies, cakes, and pastries. To avoid heart disease, avoid eating a diet high in sugar. There are “good” carbohydrate choices, such as whole grains, pastas, brown rice, and many vegetables. Be sure to remember fruits and vegetables, as they are a key part of staying healthy. It may not be possible to cut sweets out of a diet entirely, especially if you are a sweet tooth, however limiting your consumption will result in better overall health.

Healthy Cooking Methods
When choosing a cooking method, it’s always better to sauté your food than to batter-dip and fry it. If you are cooking meat or poultry with skin, a good choice is to remove the skin and bake it in the oven.

For the purposes of controlling fat and calories, it is generally recommended to bake fish rather than frying it. Cooking with vegetables will also help keep most of the essential nutrients, as well as adding flavor. Avoid saturated fats such as creams and butter, and instead try using fresh lemon and herbs for seasoning. In addition, for maximizing nutritional value, consume a selection of raw vegetables from time to time.

As you change your lifestyle for the better, remember that it’s going to take some time to get used to your new habits. Keeping your heart healthy and preventing diseases are just some of the wonderful long-term benefits you will gain by eating healthy.

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Last updated on Feb 12th, 2009 and filed under Cardiovascular Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Response for “Eating a heart-healthy diet to prevent heart diseases”

  1. Maxine says:

    I try and check the nutrition values of everything I buy from the supermarket: fat – saturated fat, sugar, salt, protein, fiber, made it a habit over the last few years.. it is amazing how much sugar they add to processed foods, even things like baked beans, I don’t understand why they do.. and of course sugar is addictive and the obesity problem in countries like UK, USA and Australia.

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