Posted on February 26, 2015
Eat Your Heart Out: Smart Food Choices for Better Heart Health
Eating healthy is one of the best ways for men and women to protect themselves and their heart. Heart disease is a killer, causing nearly one million heart-related deaths annually according to The Heart Foundation. A better diet is a great way to avoid becoming one of these statistics.
A complete overhaul of one’s diet is not an easy task. The key to transforming eating habits is moderation and finding a nice balance with the foods you put in your body. Setting goals is important, but pace yourself. Start with one goal and then go on to the next—small steps keep you on track.
A few other tips:
- Avoid consuming too much sodium. Often, canned and frozen foods hide massive amounts of sodium so check those labels carefully! No one can completely avoid sodium, but paying attention to how much you take in can make a big difference for your heart.
- Listen to what your body is telling you. Studies show those who turn off the TV while eating and take at least 20 to 30 minutes to eat a meal tend to eat less because the body has enough time to realize it’s full. So slow down, take your time, enjoy your company, and help your heart.
- Like Mom always said: Eat your vegetables! Many fruits and vegetables contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. They are also low in calories and high in dietary fiber which can fill you up—leaving less room for high-fat foods.
- Make a few substitutions. Many recipes can be made healthier by substituting ingredients most already have in the kitchen. Instead of whole milk, use fat-free or low-fat milk; instead of butter, use margarine; use fat-free yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese instead of sour cream. Small changes can make a big difference.
- Balance calorie intake with exercise. The math is simple: Eating more calories than you burn each day leads to weight gain. Work with your doctor to find the exercise plan that works best for you and get moving!
Most of us don’t think too much about the foods we put in our bodies, but we should. The saying, “You are what you eat” definitely rings true: Eat poorly and you’ll feel poorly; eat healthy and you’ll feel healthy! Start making a few simple changes today and you, and your heart, will reap the benefits.