Heart-Healthy Foods: 8 Important Tips to Help Prevent Heart Disease

gymsweaty-Health & NutritionHeart disease contributes to at least a third of all deaths globally.
Diet plays an important role in cardiovascular health and can influence your risk of heart disease.
It is worth noting that some foods can influence your triglyceride levels, blood pressure, inflammation, and cholesterol levels. All these are major risk factors for heart disease.
Here’s the thing – many people might be aware that some foods have a very bad influence on their heart health. Unfortunately, very few things are as difficult as changing one’s eating habits. Whether you’ve been eating unhealthy foods for years or you just want to fine-tune your diet, this article highlights 8 important tips that can put you back on the path to wellness.
Once you know those foods that are healthy for you and which foods to limit, you’ll be on the fast lane to wellness.

1. Eat more leafy green vegetables
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Leafy green vegetables such as kale, collard greens, and spinach are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals.
What’s more, they are rich in vitamin K, which has a protective effect on your arteries and also enhances proper blood clotting.
Leafy green vegetables contain plenty of dietary nitrates, which reduce blood pressure, decrease the stiffness of the arteries, and improve the function of endothelial cells (cells that line the blood vessels).

2. Eat moderate portions
The amount of food you eat is as important as the kind of food you eat. Binge eating, or finishing a large portion within a short period can lead to stuffing your body with more calories than you need. This is typical of portions served in restaurants.
With a couple of tips, you will be able to control your portion sizes with ease and shape up both your waistline and your heart:
• Use a small bowl or plate so you can eat moderate portions.
• Eat more low-calorie, but nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables and fruits.
• Reduce the amount of high-sodium, high-calorie foods, including fast, processed, or refined foods.

3. Whole grains are best
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Whole grains are grains that have all three nutrient-rich portions of the grain: bran, endosperm, and germ.
Examples of whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and rye.
4. Limit your intake of unhealthy fats
Limiting the number of trans and saturated fats that you eat plays a key role in reducing your blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of coronary artery disease. High blood cholesterol causes the accumulation of plaques, known as atherosclerosis, which can put you at risk of stroke and heart attack.

5. Use low-fat proteins on your diet
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Lean meat, fish and poultry, eggs, and low-fat dairies are great sources of protein. Go for lower-fat options, like skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken. Skim milk also works better than whole milk.

6. Berriesgymsweaty-Health & Nutrition
Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are loaded with vital nutrients that contribute immensely to heart health.

Berries also contain a lot of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, which offer protection against inflammation and oxidative stress – two factors that can trigger heart disease.

7. Reduce your sodium (salt) intake
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Eating plenty of salt can trigger high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Reducing your sodium intake is an important part of a heart-healthy diet. According to the American Heart Association:
• Daily sodium intake for healthy adults should not exceed 2,300 milligrams (mg). This is equivalent to a teaspoon of salt.
• Most adults should not take more than 1,500 mg of salt daily.

8. Avocadosgymsweaty-Health & Nutrition
Avocados are a great source of monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are heart-healthy fats that have been linked to low levels of cholesterol and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Avocados are rich in potassium. Potassium is a nutrient that contributes to heart health. A single avocado contains 975 mg of potassium. That’s no less than the amount of potassium that you need daily.

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