There are various factors that can lead to heart disease. The good news is, this killer disease is preventable.
Even though most people know that eating certain foods can increase their heart disease risk, the challenge is really about changing their eating habits. Heart disease, which is also known as cardiovascular disease or coronary heart disease, actually kills more Americans each year compared to all kinds of cancers put together. It accounts for up to 30% of all deaths. As mentioned earlier, the risk of having this disease can be prevented, but know that there are also other factors to consider such as age, gender and an individual’s family history, which you cannot really control.
These days, more and more people are yearning to become physically fit, but how does one really prevent heart disease? Below are the steps to having healthy hearts. The key is to know which foods to eat more of and which foods should be limited from your diet. By doing so, you are sure to have a heart-healthy diet.
Tips to Get a Healthy Heart
- Limit unhealthy fats and cholesterol from your diet. Limiting trans fats and saturated fats is the most vital step so you can reduce your blood cholesterol and decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. High blood cholesterol level leads to build-up of plaques in human arteries and this is called atherosclerosis. This can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. According to the guideline of The American Heart Association consumption of saturated fat should be less than 7% of your total daily calories while trans fat should be less than 1% of your total daily calories. As for cholesterol it should be less than 300 milligrams a day for healthy adults; less than 200 milligrams a day for adults with high level of low-density lipoprotein or bad cholesterol or those who are taking cholesterol lowering medication.
- Choose to eat low-fat protein sources. While lean meat, poultry and fish are some of the best sources of protein, be careful to choose the ones with lower fat options like skim milk instead of whole milk and skinless chicken breast instead of fried chicken patties. Another good alternative to high-fat meats are fish and they are certain types of fish that are healthy because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This can lower blood fats called triglycerides. High amounts of omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fresh water fish like salmon, mackerel and herring. Other food sources of omega-3 fatty acids are flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans and canola oil.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables because they are good sources of vitamins and minerals. They are low in calorie, and at the same time, rich in dietary fiber. They contain substances that are found in plants which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Choosing to eat fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods like meat, cheese and snack foods.
- Fruits and vegetable are not only healthy but they are also very easy to prepare. Wash vegetables and cut them. Store in refrigerator for quick snacks. Place fruits in a bowl, somewhere seen at all times so you remember to eat them.