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8 Smart Tips for Enjoying a Heart-Healthy Diet

heart healthy foodsLet’s admit it – we could all be eating a little better, but it certainly isn’t easy for most of us. It’s awfully tempting to give in to the siren call of our favorite treats and eschew what’s truly good for us. Changing eating habits can be difficult, but if you care about safeguarding your hardworking heart, you need to consider what you’re fueling your body with. After all, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. One way you can lower your risk for heart disease and improve your cardiovascular health is by enjoying a heart-healthy diet! Here’s how you can get started:

Embrace Fruits and Vegetables

You’ve probably heard this for years – you need to eat plenty of fruits and veggies, and for good reason. They’re a great source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they help lower both your cholesterol and your risk for heart disease. Keep your favorite vegetables washed and cut in the fridge and your favorite fruits in plain sight for a quick snack. Include them in a delicious stir-fry, salads, on sandwiches, or even in your oatmeal!

Think Whole Grains

If you love your heart, it’s time to swap out refined grain products for whole-grain substitutes! The reason: whole grains are excellent sources of fiber and help regulate blood pressure. Choose whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas, brown rice over white rice, and other wholesome options like quinoa, barley, and faro. We recommend gluten-free products.

Choose Lean and Plant Protein

You need protein if you want to keep your muscles strong and stay satiated for longer, but you need to consider your protein source more carefully to keep your heart happy. Opt for lean meats like chicken, turkey, fish, and eggs to help keep your energy up. Several plant-based foods like beans, legumes, seeds, nuts, and even tofu also provide an excellent amount of protein! Make these your mainstays and limit the amount of red and processed meat you consume.

Favor Healthier Fat Sources

Fats are not the enemy; in fact, unsaturated fats are excellent sources of energy and can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle! Cut back on unhealthy fats like butter and cream in favor of healthier sources like raw nuts, fish oils, avocados, flaxseeds, and olive oil.

Eat More Fish

Speaking of fish oil, you’ll want to get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. This essential fat helps fight plaque in your arteries, lowers blood pressure, and lowers your triglycerides, ultimately keeping your heart healthy and strong. Choose fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, and albacore tuna.

Flavor Food with Herbs and Spices, Not Salt

Limiting your sodium intake is a solid strategy to help put less stress on your heart. You might feel reluctant to reduce the amount of salt you use, but opting for a variety of herbs and spices like garlic, rosemary, sage, and more can really liven up a meal’s flavor. On that same note, try making your own soups and stews rather than relying on those that come in cans to reduce your sodium intake.

Plan Your Meals Ahead

You know what they say – if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Aim to succeed by creating daily menus for yourself and your family! Writing down exactly what you plan to have for your meals and snacks takes the stress of deciding what to eat away and increases your chances of eating healthy food. Remember to watch your portion sizes as well!

Get Creative in the Kitchen

Eating well doesn’t mean you have to endure eating boring, tasteless meals. On the contrary, so many healthy foods pair well together and offer an explosion of flavors you haven’t yet experienced! Indulge in a variety of good foods and try adding various fruits and veggies in dishes to add texture and zest to any ho-hum recipe. Who knows – you might find a new favorite!

While eating a healthy diet is certainly one of the best things you can do for your heart, there are plenty of other steps you can take to keep your heart healthy! Here are other ways you can take care of your ticker:

  • Get plenty of good sleep.
  • Exercise often. Shoot for at least 150 cumulative minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week.
  • Don’t smoke. If you do smoke, take steps right now to quit.
  • Lose weight. Even shedding a few pounds has such a positive effect!
  • De-stress by indulging in your hobbies, spending time with people you love, and laughing at funny videos or movies.
  • Take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day and flossing daily.

Get Started with The Wellness Connection

A healthy diet isn’t just good for your heart – it also benefits your entire body and your mental health. If you aren’t sure where to start, rely on the experts at The Wellness Connection to help you get the daily nutrition you need! We use an innovative approach to wellness by combining chiropractic care with nutritional counseling to help you heal and live your best life. Learn more about our nutritional counseling or call us at (636) 978-0970 to schedule an appointment!

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