Even if you are aware that some foods may increase your risk of heart disease, changing your eating habits is not always straightforward. Whatever your eating habits are, whether you have a history of poor eating habits or wish to fine-tune your diet, here are five heart-healthy food suggestions to consider.
You will be great on your way to adopting a heart-healthy eating pattern once you learn which foods to eat more of and which ones to limit.
1. Keep Portion Under Control
The amount of food you can eat is just as necessary as the sort of food you eat. By overfilling your plate, taking seconds, and eating until you are entirely pleased, you might consume more calories than you need to. Restaurant servings are occasionally more extensive than what is necessary.
By following a few simple portion control recommendations, you may enhance the quality of your diet as well as the health of your heart and waistline. Here are a few examples:
- Use a small dish or bowl to help keep your portions under control.
- It is advised to consume more low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce your diet of high-calorie, high-sodium foods such refined grains, processed foods, and fast-food restaurants.
It’s also critical to check how many servings you eat throughout the day. An exact amount of food represented by standard measurements such as cups, ounces, or pieces is an individual serving size of food.
For example, one serving of spaghetti is around 1/3 to 1/2 cup in volume, which is the size of a hockey puck. A serving is two to three ounces of meat, fish, poultry, or about the size and thickness of a deck of playing cards.
2. Incorporate Vegetables and Fruits
Vegetables and fruits are high in dietary fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Many Fruits and vegetables are also low in calories and high in nutritious fibre, making them a healthy option. Plants or plant-based foods, vegetables and fruits contain chemicals that may be advantageous in preventing cardiovascular disease.
Eating more fresh vegetables and fruits may help you lose weight by limiting your consumption of high-calorie meals such as meat, cheese, and snacks.
It does not have to be tough to incorporate vegetables and fruits into your diet. Keep washed and sliced vegetables in your refrigerator for quick snacks on the go. Keep fruits and veggies in a dish in your kitchen to remind you to eat them.
Recipes that include some vegetables or fruits as the main ingredients, such as vegetable stir-fries or fresh fruit incorporated into salads, are a wise choice. Here are several examples:
- Fresh frozen vegetables and fruits.
- Vegetables in cans with reduced salt content
- Fruits canned with juice or water
Ignore that Food and Vegetables:
- Using a thick, creamy sauce to cook veggies
- Breaded or fried vegetables
- Fruit in cans that have been soaked in a thick syrup
- Sugared and frozen fruit
3. Choose Whole Grains
Whole grains are high in fibre and other nutrients that aid in managing blood pressure and the overall health of the cardiovascular system.
Making some substitutions for refined grain products can increase the number of whole grains in your diet while maintaining a healthy diet. Alternatively, be daring and try a new fibre-rich whole grain like farro, quinoa, or barley.
Which Grain Products to Choose:
- Flour made from whole grains
- 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread
- High-fibre cereal with 5gm or more fibre per serving is advised.
- Whole grains, including brown rice, barley, and buckwheat, are high fibre.
- Pasta made from whole grains
- Breakfast cereal (oatmeal) (steel-cut or regular)
Grain Products to Avoid:
- White, refined flour
- White bread
- Frozen waffles
- Quick bread
- Egg noodles
- Buttered popcorn
- High-fat snack crackers
4. Reduce the Intake of Harmful Fats
According to the American Heart Association, limiting your consumption of saturated and trans fats is a critical step in decreasing your blood cholesterol and lowering your risk of coronary artery disease.
A high level of cholesterol blood can cause plaques to form in your arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis, and increase your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. There are simple ways to limit your intake of saturated and trans fats, such as:
- Trim the fat from meat or choose lean meats with less than 10% fat as an alternative.
- Reduce the quantity of butter, margarine, and shortening you use while cooking and serving.
- Use low-fat replacements wherever possible for a heart-healthy diet. Instead of butter, try low-sodium salsa or low-fat yoghurt on top of your baked potato. To make your toast more nutritious, spread it with whole fruit or low-sugar fruit spread instead of margarine.
Check the labels of baked items such as cookies, cakes, frosting, crackers, and chips for the ingredients. This group of foods is nutritionally deficient, but some of them — even those labelled as reduced-fat — may include trans fats. Trans fats are no longer authorised to be added to meals. However, many older goods may still contain trace amounts of them.
5. Select Protein Sources But Low Fat
Protein-rich foods as lean meat, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are among the best sources. Reduce your saturated fat consumption by eating skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken patties and skim milk instead of whole milk.
Proteins to Choose:
- Low-fat dairy products like skimmed milk, yoghurt and cheese
- Cold-water fish, such as salmon
- Skinless poultry
- Soybeans and soy products
- Lean ground meats
Proteins to Limit or Avoid:
- Full-fat milk and other dairy products
- Organ meats, such as liver
- Fatty and marbled meats
- Hot dogs and sausages
- Fried or breaded meats
Fish is a tasty and low-fat meat replacement. Certain types of fish are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to lower blood fat levels known as triglycerides.
Like salmon and mackerel, Coldwater fish have many fish species’ highest omega-3 fatty acid contents. Other sources include flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and canola oil.