It’s been well documented, over the centuries, that the way to a mans heart is through his stomach – but how about the path which not only gets you into his heart, but keeps the heart healthy too. Surely that’s the best route to take.
One really important method of keeping your heart healthy is by improving your lifestyle, which includes making healthy food choices. “You are what you eat” really does apply here, and by keeping to a healthy diet you can really reduce the risk of contracting heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America.
Heart Health is vital, but, according to the American Heart Association (AHA) there could be as many as 80 million adult Americans suffering from some form of heart disease right now, hindering the hearts ability to function normally, we’re talking:
- coronary artery disease
- heart defects
- heart rhythm problems
Eating In for Health Health
Changing your lifestyle, and in particular your eating habits can make a whole world of difference to your heart, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s not expensive and it’s certainly tasty. Just try following these simple rules for starters:
- eat less and move more – balance out the calories to help you control your weight – obesity or being overweight all puts extra strain on the heart
- eat more fruit and veg, I know, you’ve heard it all before, but you really ought to aim to eat at least 4 or 5 cups of veggies and fruits every day – eat a rainbow of colors, that’s a good way to know that you’re getting a good variety – oranges, dark green leafy vegetables, lovely red tomatoes and peppers, throw in some beans and peas and you’ll know that you’re on the right track
- try swapping a few portions of poultry or meat for some nice seafood or oily fish
- never mind the processed bread and stuff, leave them on the shelf and replace with tasty whole grains in bread, pasta and rice
- don’t cook with solid fats, use oils instead
- always buy low fat or fat free dairy produce
- reduce the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet
Okay, that’s got you sorted out while you’re at home, but what about when you eat in a restaurant, or are feeling a bit lazy, can’t be bothered to cook and wander down the “ready-meals” aisle at the supermarket? You still need to stick to a few simple rules for a healthy heart.
Eating Out for Heart Health
Just because you’re not cooking your own meal, it doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to throw all that you have learned (and know to be good for you) out of the window. We all need a treat now and then, but:
- only have lean meats or poultry, and order it baked, grilled or broiled
- avoid any dishes which say fried or sauteed – they’re on the naughty list
- read product labels on ready meals and try to find those which say these buzz words – low in saturated fats, cholesterol and trans fats. Try to eat only monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats, found mostly in nuts, fish and veggie oils
- only opt for foods and drinks which have no, or very few added sugars. Read the list of ingredients to see exactly what you’ll be eating or drinking – you might be unpleasantly surprised.