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Heart Healthy Diet

Heart Health DietEating a heart healthy diet will not only improve and maintain heart health, but also maintain a healthy body weight, decrease the risk of getting diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and increase life expectancy. It fits in with a balanced diet, can provide obesity help, it’s really the best way to lose weight. It is often easy to acknowledge needing to eat healthier, but much harder to change learned diet behaviors and switch from eating junk to heart healthy foods. We often want quick fix’s like crash diets, miracle fat burning foods, diets like the popular Dukan diet and grapefruit diet. However, there are many delicious heart healthy foods to choose from, as well as certain tips that make it easier to know what to look for when trying to maintain a healthy diet.


The most heart healthy foods will be high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids, which naturally reduce inflammation, has been directly linked to prevention of heart disease and can be found in fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut, and mackerel. Omega-3 is also found in flaxseed. If none of those options sound appealing, omega-3 supplements are also available. Some may know about Isabel De Los Rios’ The Diet Solution program, which encourages taking an omega-3 supplement daily. The American Heart Association also approves the use of omega-3 supplements as an acceptable way to take in this nutrient.


A good heart healthy diet will also include many fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains. Especially healthy nuts such as walnuts and almonds which are high in vitamin E. Vitamin E repairs the lining of blood cells. Healthy fruits and vegetables include blueberries, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers, oranges, tomatoes, and papaya. All of these are high in foliate, which metabolizes a certain amino acid found in the blood that, in high levels, is linked to heart disease.


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As important as knowing what to eat in a heart healthy diet is what to reduce or eliminate. As healthy as fruits and vegetables are, for example, coconut is high in saturated fat and should be eaten in extreme moderation. The FDA recommends no more than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fats. The Mayo Clinic, however, suggests that to have a truly heart healthy diet it is advisable to cut saturated fats even further, down to 7% of your calories, (14 grams if based on a daily 2,000 calorie diet). Also avoid foods high in sodium, such as prepared pasta sauce, soy sauce, and canned soups, as sodium raises blood pressure and has been linked to increased incidences of heart disease.



When cooking, limit the amount of butter in the recipe. Instead of frying foods in butter, palm-kernel oil, or coconut oil, choose olive oil or canola oil. Avoid making cream sauces. When making bread or pasta, use whole wheat flower instead of white. Many excellent heart healthy recipes can be found online, through the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association.


The most important habit to acquire when maintaining a heart healthy diet is to check the labels on foods. It is not enough if the item says that it is reduced fat or sodium. Reduced from what? Reduced sodium soup can still have half the recommended amount of salt in a can. Also stay away from foods that use the words “partially hydrogenated” anywhere in their ingredient list; this is a sure sign that there are trans fats in the food.


Maintaining a heart healthy diet is not as difficult as it may appear at first glance. By sticking to the delicious foods that promote heart health and using some simple tips to avoid the foods that do not, a long, healthy life is achievable.


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