7 Simple Tips for a Heart Healthy Diet

Also known as the silent killer, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. But with these seven tips for a heart healthy diet, you can help nurture a strong, beating heart!

Also known as the silent killer, heart disease is the leading cause of death in America. In fact, every 34 seconds, a U.S. citizen has a heart attack and every 60 seconds or minute, someone passes from a heart disease-related event. Cardiovascular disease takes the lives of more than all forms of cancer combined. While the statistics are astonishing and disturbing, they are nonetheless very real. But with these seven tips for a heart healthy diet, you can help nurture a strong, beating heart!

Diet for Heart Disease

1. Go for Color

Naturally colorful foods are naturally rich in nutrients. Generally, plant-based foods hold the greatest nutritional value when it comes to moderating calories while obtaining essential vitamins and minerals. The antioxidant properties withheld in vibrant fruits and veggies are recognized for protecting the body against cellular damage, ultimately reducing the risk of health conditions such as heart disease.

2. Increase Fiber Intake

Fiber does much more than promote bowel regularity! In fact, Cheerios’ claim, “Clinically proven to help reduce cholesterol” sealed on its box is related to its fiber content that naturally found in whole grains. Simply put, soluble fiber acts like a sponge to bind and excrete cholesterol from the body, therefore reducing cholesterol levels in the blood. Additional soluble fiber sources include oats, barley, legumes, and most fruits and vegetables.

3. Drink More Water

Not only is upping water intake encouraged when adding more fiber within the diet, but also heartened for effective blood flow. And being naturally calorie-free, swapping artificially sweetened beverages with water can naturally keep calories in check and reduce sugar intake, further discussed in tip number six. If desiring a little more than the taste of plain water, check out these ways to flavor your next glass!

4. Eat Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of polyunsaturated fat, notoriously known for their role in heart health. Acting as a powerful antioxidant, omega-3’s properties have shown to aid in lowering blood pressure and protecting against heart disease. Significant sources of omega-3’s include fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, and herring – the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming fish at least two times each week. Swapping out margarine filled with trans fat with olive oil rich in omega-3s may also significantly reduce heart disease risk.

5. Watch Portion Sizes

Portion distortion continues to carry on throughout the years, even becoming more skewed as time passes. Too commonly, you sit down at a restaurant, order an entrée, only to have a large meal plate become placed right in front of you. Rather than cleaning the plate, share with someone at the table or take half home for leftovers. You can naturally watch portions by utilizing smaller plates, eating slower, and loading up on fresh veggies.

6. Reduce Added Sugar Intake

With its high availability and inclusion in the food supply, it is not overly surprising the general population is eating too much added sugar. According the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2005 through 2010, the average percent of total daily calories from added sugars was 12.7 percent (approximately 335 calories) for adult men and 13.2 percent (approximately 239 calories) for adult women. And according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, no more than 10 percent of calories (or 200 calories based on a 2,000 calorie diet) from added sugars. Limiting added sugars can in turn manage both blood sugars and weight, subsequently promoting a healthy heart.

7. Dismiss the Salt Shaker

As a general rule, sodium intake is recommended to no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. While embracing a more nutritious diet naturally limits sodium intake, the purpose is defeated if reaching for the salt shaker. Rather than seasoning with salt, spice it up in the kitchen with these flavorful ideas! Recognizing and dismissing these surprising foods with lots of salt also assists in a healthier heart.

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Our team of dietitians, chefs and fitness experts love to share helpful information and tips to make living your best life as easy as possible. We stand for longer and healthier living through what we eat and how we live.