A heart healthy diet is an unofficial title for a heart healthy diet plan that emphasizes the avoidance or reduction of certain foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar, while increasing the consumption of nutrient -rich foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, lean meats and seafood. And it always means consuming low-fat dairy products, poultry products, and lean red meat. In short, the heart healthy diet is all about living a “greener” lifestyle. It is a way of eating for the good of your heart.
Cardiovascular Health Diet
One of the most important ingredients of the heart healthy diet is fiber. Foods that are rich in fiber include fresh fruits like strawberries, pears and bananas, leafy green vegetables like spinach, and whole wheat pasta and pretzels. Fruits and vegetables contain soluble fiber which binds with cholesterol and other substances in the blood and helps them to get passed out of the body.
The second ingredient of the heart healthy diet is potassium. Potassium can be found in bananas, oranges, apples, carrots, potatoes and other vegetables. Low levels of potassium in the body can cause high blood pressure, kidney stones and frequent urination. Therefore, foods that are rich in potassium are vegetables, especially dark leafy green vegetables like broccoli and spinach; fruits like berries and watermelon; and meat and seafood like oysters, salmon and tuna. Foods that contain a high amount of potassium include canned vegetables, canned tomatoes, raisins, pretzels, carrots, cauliflower and potato.
Another very important component of the heart healthy diet is soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is found in psyllium seeds, peas, nuts, apples, oranges, legumes and some vegetables, particularly leafy green vegetables. They provide the bulk, texture and volume necessary for good digestion and provide a lot of B vitamins and other minerals, as well. There are many misconceptions about soluble fiber that need to be cleared up. For instance, many people believe that soluble fiber is not digestible, but this is simply not true.
In order to have a heart healthy diet, you must make a lifestyle change. You need to reduce your calories by eating smaller amounts more frequently and not skipping any meals. You also need to take in a lot of protein and complex carbohydrates. These foods will help keep your blood glucose level stable and your hunger pangs to a minimum.
Your diet needs to be high in complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down than simple carbohydrates, which means they stay in your stomach longer and take more calories when you eat them. Foods high in complex carbohydrates are vegetables, legumes, whole grain breads and cereals, fruits, and other unprocessed foods. Foods high in calories are also higher in fat, so a diet high in fats will be offset by a lower intake of processed foods.
A heart healthy diet is important for overall body health. Exercise can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and can maintain a healthy weight. A change in lifestyle is key to a healthy heart. Smoking and alcohol consumption should be avoided and regular exercise should be performed. Some doctors suggest that people who suffer from heart disease and hypertension may benefit from taking heart medications, which may prevent heart attacks or blood clots. The combination of diet and exercise is the best way to improve heart health.
By following a heart healthy diet and lifestyle change, you can dramatically reduce your risk for heart disease and strokes. You will also find that you have more energy and are able to sleep better at night. The most important thing is to eliminate or greatly reduce your consumption of high cholesterol foods and saturated fat. Instead, consume more foods with unsaturated fats and low cholesterol. This combination will dramatically improve your overall cardiovascular health.