Heart Disease Protection Eating

A healthy diet can prevent some of the conditions that cause heart disease. Eating for heart health may prevent or manage the symptoms of chronic conditions that put your heart at risk, such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Healthy eating can lower your sodium levels, which in turn can lower your blood pressure and reduce your heart’s workload. Healthy eating tips can help you reduce the cholesterol that accumulates in your coronary arteries as plaque and prevents the heart muscle from receiving an adequate blood supply.

Healthy Eating Tips

A complete collection of healthy eating recipes or a comprehensive list of healthy eating tips can be long, but in the most general sense, eating for heart health means:

  • Cutting back on sodium to reduce blood pressure
  • Lowering cholesterol to keep coronary arteries open and flexible
  • Reducing saturated and trans fats, sugar and empty calories to avoid obesity and diabetes
  • Taking in vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, healthy proteins and omega-3 fatty acids to strengthen the heart muscle and connective tissues.

Foods for Heart Health

The USDA and the American Heart Association both offer a variety of healthy eating recipes on their websites. Explore these organizations online for complete healthy eating recipes that make use of the most delicious heart healthy ingredients, including the following:

  • Carbohydrates: The best carbohydrate choices for heart health are made of whole grain, high in fiber and minimally processed. Choose whole grain bread from the bakery section over processed, white bread from the bread aisle.
  • Fruits: For the best heart health, eat fruit at least five times a day and choose fruits of all colors. Fruits with red skin and flesh may contain higher levels of flavonoids, which are natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances. Flavonoids are healthy for all of the body’s systems, not just the heart.
  • Proteins: Eating for heart health means choosing high-protein, low-fat meats and limiting meat as much as possible. The most heart healthy protein choice is fish, and salmon is one of the most heart healthy fish choices. Wild-caught salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are an excellent choice for your heart. When choosing fish, avoid farm-raised salmon, as it doesn’t offer the same benefits. Avoid meat choices loaded with unhealthy fats, like beef. Nuts and legumes are an excellent and heart-healthy protein source.
  • Vegetables: Almost all vegetables get a green light for heart health. Even avocados are a fine choice, since the fats they contain pose minimal danger of increasing harmful LDL cholesterol levels. If in doubt, reach for green, leafy vegetables like broccoli. But in general, the more vegetables, the better.

Resources

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2010). Heart healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-healthy-diet/NU00196

Medline Plus. (2010). Heart disease and diet. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002436.htm

Womens Health. (2010). Heart healthy eating. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/heart-healthy-eating.cfm