How to Eat for a Healthy Heart

February is heart health awareness month. Having a healthy heart is key to living a healthy lifestyle. Take care of your heart health by eating a balanced diet and getting daily exercise. This can reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

There are key nutrients to include in your diet to keep your heart healthy. A diet high in fruits and vegetables,  whole grains, and lean meats such as poultry and fish are exceptional for lowering the risk of heart related illnesses.  Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are all  high in fiber. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and makes you feel fuller for longer. Try adding oatmeal with fruit to your morning routine for a little added fiber. Fruits and vegetables are packed with key vitamins and minerals for a healthy heart. Chicken, fish and beans can provide a good source of protein yet limited amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol. The unsaturated fats in fish, such as salmon, provide health benefits and can reduce the risk of heart disease.Salmon, nuts, seeds, and oils are all examples of these healthy fats. While trans and saturated fat found in processed foods like butter and pastries are the less healthy type of fat.

A diet high in sodium, fried food and red meat is less ideal for a health heart and foods that have high amounts of sodium include, fast food, canned food, frozen meals, condiments, deli meat, and packaged soups. Sodium can be sneaky and it is important to make sure your daily sodium intake isn’t too high. To avoid having a high sodium diet do your best to avoid processed foods and don’t use the salt shaker. ¼ tsp of salt is equal to 600mg of sodium per day and the daily recommendation is no more than 2000mg of sodium per day.

Exercise is equally as important as diet when it comes to heart health. To increase your cardiovascular health try to do vigorous exercise such as swimming, biking, running, gym classes, walking and elliptical. You should make an effort to exercise for 30 minutes every day and get your body moving by doing activities like walking, yoga, or going on a bike ride. You can break up the times throughout the day to make sure you get a full 30 minutes but don’t have time to do it all at once.

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