Combat Heart Disease with Nutrition

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and one in three cases are preventable. Anyone, including children, can develop heart disease. While some risk factors for heart disease can’t be controlled, such as age, family history, and gender, other risk factors can be.

Smoking, poor diet, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity, and stress are all risk areas that are partially or completely in your control. Most of these controllable risk factors can be helped with a healthy diet and proper nutrition. Whether you have years of healthy eating under your belt or you are just starting to fine tune your diet, there are several heart-healthy diet tips that can help reduce your risk of heart disease.

Control Portion Size.

How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Overloading your plate leads to eating more calories than necessary, making you feel stuffed. Try using a small plate or bowl to help with portion size and eat larger portions of low-calorie foods like fruits and vegetables. Pay attention to serving size and keep track of the number of servings you eat. Use measuring cups, spoons, or scales until you are comfortable with your portions.

Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Fruits and vegetables contain substances that can combat cardiovascular disease. It is easy to add these to your diet! Keep fresh fruits and vegetables washed and chopped to be readily available for snacking, and choose recipes, such as stir-fry, that feature fruits and vegetables.

Choose low-fat protein sources.

Lean meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. Legumes, such as beans, peas, and lentils, are also an excellent source of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them substitutes for meat.

Reduce sodium in your diet.

Eating large amounts of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. It is recommended by the Center for Disease Control that healthy adults have no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day, which is about a teaspoon. To reduce sodium in your diet, stay away from eating frozen dinners and canned foods. Another way to reduce sodium is to choose your condiments carefully.

Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you will be on your way to a heart healthy diet!

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