Keeping your heart healthy can make you feel better and help you live longer! Making heart-healthy choices can also reduce your risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.
One of the main factors for keeping your heart healthy is choosing the right foods. While a diet overhaul might seem overwhelming, you can start by focusing on better choices can impact your heart health.
Check out these heart healthy choices you can begin making today!
Choose High Fiber Foods
Foods that are rich in fiber have been shown to help reduce bad cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease!
- Legumes, nuts and seeds are an excellent source of fiber. Adding beans, seeds, and nuts to your salads, eggs, or burritos can make your foods more heart healthy.
- Opt for whole grains over refined grains – e.g. steel cut oatmeal instead of a biscuit or whole grain bread instead of white bread for a more heart-healthy meal.
- Fruits and vegetables are another tasty option to add fiber to your diet, and adults should aim for four servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables each day.
Do it Today: Eat at least one more high-fiber fruit or vegetable today, like raspberries, pears or peas.
Reduce Sodium Intake
The FDA recommends adults have no more than 2,300 mg of sodium (a.k.a. salt) daily, the equivalent of about a teaspoon. An abundance of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attack.
Even if you don’t reach for the salt shaker much, you might still have more sodium in your diet than you expect, as much of our added sodium comes from processed or prepared foods. That extra salt isn’t just added for taste, but also for thickening or as a preservative in pasta, breads, sauces and more.
Pay close attention to your sodium intake for a healthier heart!
Do it Today: Check out the nutrition labels on the prepared snacks and soups in your cupboards to help you stay below the recommended daily intake for sodium.
Focus on Whole Foods
Selecting whole foods, or foods in their natural form, over processed foods whenever possible can help also keep your heart healthy. For example:
- Choosing whole chicken breast over a chicken nuggets
- Preparing a baked potato when craving potato chips
- Opting for berries instead of fruit snacks
Whole foods don’t always offer the convenience factor that processed foods provide. So having whole foods on hand ready to go will make it easier to choose wisely.
Do it Now: Prepare healthy whole food snacks so they’re easy to grab! Measure out portions of your favorite nuts or hard-boil and peel some eggs so you can snack healthy even in a hurry.
Other steps to keep your heart healthy include: reducing sugar intake, limiting alcohol, and choosing foods that are low in cholesterol, saturated fats and trans fats. You can learn more about the steps you can take to become more heart healthy from the CDC and the American Heart Association.
Stay tuned for more posts in Alliance Xpress Urgent Care’s “Healthy Hearts” series!