Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease

Although you might know that eating certain foods can increase your heart disease risk, it’s often tough to change your eating habits. But here are eight heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more of and which foods to limit, you’ll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet.
1. Control your portion size
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Thus,to reduce amount of calories eaten, Use a small plate or bowl to help control your portions. Eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods.
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are good sources of vitamins and minerals. Vegetables and fruits are also low in calories and rich in dietary fiber. Vegetables and fruits, like other plants or plant-based foods, contain substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
3. Select whole grains
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health. You can increase the amount of whole grains in a heart-healthy diet by making simple substitutions for refined grain products.
Grain products to choose
Whole-wheat flour, Whole-grain bread, High-fiber cereal, Whole grains such as brown rice, barley and buckwheat, Whole-grain pasta, Oatmeal
Grain products to limit or avoid
White, refined flour, White bread. Muffins, Frozen waffles, Corn bread, Doughnuts, Biscuits, Cakes, Pies,noodles, Buttered popcorn, High-fat snack crackers
4. Limit unhealthy fats
Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
You can reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet by trimming fat off your meat. When you do use fats, choose oils not solid fats. An easy way to add healthy fat (and fiber) to your diet is ground flax seed. Flax seeds (आलस) are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Fats to choose
Mustard oil, rapeseed oil, Soyabean oil, Sunflower oil, Olive oil, corn oils, Vegetable and nut oils, Margarine, Nuts, seeds, Avocados
Fats to avoid
Butter, Lard, Bacon fat, Gravy, Cream sauce, Nondairy creamers, Hydrogenated margarine and shortening, Cocoa butter, found in chocolate, Coconut, palm, cottonseed and palm-kernel oils
5. Choose low-fat protein sources
Lean meat, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy products, and eggs are some of your best sources of protein. But be careful to choose lower fat options, such as skim milk rather than whole milk and skinless chicken breasts rather than fried chicken,
Fish is another good alternative to high-fat meats.
Legumes — beans, peas and lentils — also are good sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat. Substituting plant protein for animal protein will reduce your fat and cholesterol intake and increase your fiber intake.
Proteins to choose
Low-fat dairy products, such as skim or low-fat milk, yogurt, Eggs, Fish, especially fatty, cold-water fish, such as salmon, Skinless poultry, Legumes, Soybeans and soy products, such as tofu, Lean meats
Proteins to limit or avoid
Full-fat milk and other dairy products, Organ meats,, Fatty meats, Hot dogs and sausages, Bacon, Fried meats
6. Reduce the sodium/salt in your food
Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing sodium is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.
Although reducing the amount of salt you add to food at the table or while cooking is a good first step, large amount of salts may be eaten from processed and canned foods, such as instant noodles, potato chips, canned fish, baked goods. Eating fresh foods and making your own soups and stews can reduce the amount of salt you eat.
High-salt items to limit or avoid
Table salt, instant foods foods, Condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and soy sauce, Restaurant meals
7. Plan ahead: Create daily menus
You know what foods to feature in your heart-healthy diet and which ones to limit. Now it’s time to put your plans into action.
Create daily menus using the six strategies listed above. When selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and healthy fats, and limit salty foods. Watch your portion sizes and add variety to your menu choices.
8. Allow yourself an occasional treat
Allow yourself an indulgence every now and then. A candy bar or handful of potato chips won’t derail your heart-healthy diet. But don’t let it turn into an excuse for giving up on your healthy-eating plan. If overindulgence is the exception, rather than the rule, you’ll balance things out over the long term. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.
Incorporate these eight tips into your life, and you’ll find that heart-healthy eating is both doable and enjoyable. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can eat with your heart in mind.

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