Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it’s often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you have years of unhealthy eating under your belt or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are eight heart-healthy diet tips to prevent heart disease.
Start Your Heart-Healthy Lifestyle!
1. Control your portion size
Use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits, like other plants or plant-based foods, contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables may help you cut back on higher calorie foods, such as meat, cheese and snack foods.
3. Select whole grains
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products.
4. Limit unhealthy fats
An easy way to add healthy fat (and fiber) to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Choose low-fat protein sources
Legumes – beans, peas and lentils – also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and increase your fiber intake.
6. Reduce the sodium in your food
Be wary of foods that claim to be lower in sodium because they are seasoned with sea salt instead of regular table salt – sea salt has the same nutritional value as regular salt.
7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus
When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and healthy fats, and limit salty foods.
8. Allow yourself an occasional treat
A candy bar or handful of potato chips won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. But don’t let it turn into an excuse for giving up on your healthy-eating plan.
BONUS: Join a Group Fitness Class & Get Moving
WellPATH is pleased to offer on-site group fitness classes that cover a wide range of interests. Classes are led by Pinnacle Training Systems certified instructors who have been trained to meet the needs of all fitness levels and skills. Beginners are welcome!