October 17, 2018
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease and kills more than 370,000 people each year.
These numbers are scary. However, with a few simple diet changes, you can keep your heart beating strong.
Eat a Balanced Diet
When it comes to diet, the type of foods you consume are critical for heart health. When you eat foods rich in nutrients, you’re likely to get the protein, vitamins, and minerals you need and still keep your calorie intake low. The American Heart Association recommends eating a diet that includes:
- Whole grains
- Skinless poultry and fish
- Nuts and legumes
- Non-tropical vegetable oils
- Fruits and vegetables
- Low-fat dairyproducts
Be Smart About Fats
Avoiding all fats in your diet isn’t healthy. Fats help absorb some vitamins, build cells, and serve as an excellent source of energy. Replacing unhealthy fats with good fats is a move in the right direction. Here are a few things you can try:
Cut Back on Saturated Fats
Red meat, whole milk, and dairy products contain saturated fats. Too many saturated fats raise your total cholesterol and clog your arteries, so limit your intake to less than 10 percent of your total calorie intake each day.
Eliminate Trans Fats
Trans fats have no health benefits. Too many trans fats can increase the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood, increase inflammation, and increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. These bad fats can be found in cakes, biscuits, crackers, and margarine.
Choose Your Carbs
Not all carbs are created equal. Your food has three types of carbs: fiber, starch, and sugar. Carbs are further broken down into simple or complex, depending on the makeup of the food and how easily it’s digested in your gut. Choose carbs that are complex and digested slowly, such as whole grain pasta, bread, and starchy vegetables. Cut out refined carbs found in white breads, pasta, sodas, and candy.
Increase Fiber Consumption
You might know fiber can decrease and relieve constipation. But, did you know that fiber lowers your risk of heart disease and diabetes and helps you maintain a healthy weight? If you want to increase the fiber in your diet, add in fruits, nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, and beans.
Decrease Salt Intake
Too much salt in your diet can raise your blood pressure without you even knowing it. Once you have high blood pressure, your risk of stroke and heart disease increases significantly. A few easy ways to limit the amount of salt in your diet include using fresh meats, choosing fresh fruit, and avoiding table salt.
If you’re looking for other ways to improve your diet or heart health, give Healthcare Associates of Texas a call today to discuss different strategies to keep you healthy.