Whether you want to keep your heart healthy or lower your risk of heart attack, choosing foods wisely is very important to ensure healthy heart. You need to be very careful while making food choices because intake of some foods can increase your chances of heart attack. So, it is very important for you to know which foods to eat more and which to limit. The following are the few tips that help you adopt a heart-healthy diet.
Limit your Calorie Intake
How much you eat is equally important as what you eat. Do not overload your plate as it gives you more calories than required. It is recommended to eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as vegetables and foods, and small quantities of high-calorie, high-sodium foods including refined, processed or fast foods. This kind of diet is good for your heart and helps shape your waistline.
And, control the number of servings you eat. For example, one serving of pasta is 1/2 cup and one serving of meat, fish or chicken is about two to three ounces.
Add More Vegetables & Fruits to your Diet Plan
Rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber, vegetables and fruits contains few substances that help in preventing cardiovascular disease. Having more fruits and vegetables may help you eat less high-fat foods, which include meat, cheese and snacks. Below list helps you to get an idea on what to choose and limit.
|What to Choose||What to Limit|
|Fresh or frozen vegetables and fruits||Coconut|
|Low-sodium canned vegetables||Vegetables with creamy sauces|
|Canned fruit packed in juice or water||Fried or breaded vegetables|
|Canned fruit packed in heavy syrup|
|Frozen fruit with sugar added|
Whole Grain Products
Whole grains are good sauces of fiber and essential nutrients that are required to control blood pressure and keep your heart healthy. You can simply substitute refined grain products with whole grains. The following list gives you a clear idea on which grain foods to chooses and avoid.
|What to Choose||What to Limit or Avoid|
|Whole-wheat flour||White, refined flour|
|100% whole-wheat bread or 100% whole-grain bread||White bread|
|High-fiber cereal with 5 g or more of fiber in a serving||Muffins, Doughnuts, Biscuits, Cakes & Pies|
|Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat (kasha)||Frozen waffles, Corn breadQuick breads|
|Whole-grain pasta||Egg noodles|
|Oatmeal (steel-cut or regular)||Buttered popcorn or High-fat snack crackers|
No Unhealthy Fats
In order to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease, you need to limit saturated and trans fats. High cholesterol level can result in formation of plaques in your arteries, termed as atherosclerosis, which can result in heart attack and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, less than 7 percent of your total daily calories or 14grams in case of a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet is the recommended levels of saturated fat. For trans fat, the recommended level is less than 1 percent of total daily calories or 2 grams in the case of a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet.
|What to Choose||What to Limit|
|Vegetable and nut oils||Bacon fat|
|Margarine, trans fat free||Nondairy creamers|
|Cholesterol-lowering margarine, such as Benecol, Promise Activ or Smart Balance||Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils|
|Nuts, seeds||Hydrogenated margarine and shortening|
|Avocados||Cocoa butter, found in chocolate|
Prefer Low-Fat Protein Sources
Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and low-fat dairy products are some foods that are rich in protein. It is better to go for lower fat options such as skim milk instead of whole milk and skinless chicken breasts instead of fried chicken patties. Fish is also another good alternative of high-fat meats. And, legumes including beans, peas and lentils are also good sources of protein and good alternatives of meat because these contain less fat and zero cholesterol. The following list gives you a clear idea on what foods to choose and limit.
|What to Choose||What to Avoid|
|Low-fat dairy products such as skim or low-fat (1%) milk, yogurt and cheese||Full-fat milk and other dairy products|
|Fish, especially fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon||Fatty and marbled meats|
|Soybeans and soy products, such as soy burgers and tofu||Spareribs|
|Eggs & Skinless poultry||Hot dogs and sausages|
|Legumes||Fried or breaded meats|
|Lean ground meats||Bacon, Organ meats, such as liver|
These tips help to keep your heart healthy and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease at the same time.