No “Bad” Foods When It Comes to Preventing Heart Disease

When it comes to eating well for your heart’s sake, be sure to eat a variety of foods. When we decide that certain foods are “bad,” it makes them more attractive to us. Rather than taking the things that you enjoy the most and putting them on a list of forbidden pleasures, why not vow to eat well and consume your favorites in moderation?

Food isn’t inherently “good” or “bad.” There are some choices that are better for your health than others, such as choosing whole grains, lean meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables more often. Very few people can stay disciplined enough that they make healthy choices all the time.

Instead of feeling guilty for falling off the healthy eating wagon and deciding to continue making unhealthy choices, give yourself a break. It’s OK to have a treat sometimes.

5 Foods to Eat to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease

If you want to lower your risk of heart disease, make sure that you include these items in your heart diet.

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Whole Grains
  • Nuts
  • Tea

It’s easy to increase your consumption of fruits and veggies. Make a point of adding a side salad at lunch or dinner more often. If you have a choice between drinking orange juice or eating an orange, go for the whole fruit. You add valuable fiber to your diet and get a serving of Vitamin C as well.

Look for whole grains in cereals, breads, and pastas, and eat them whenever possible. As long as you don’t have any issues with nut allergies, eating almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, or walnuts is a heart-heathy move. Drinking green or black teas can help to lower your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels.

No Magic Foods Prevent Heart Disease

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were some foods that you could eat that would prevent heart disease? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. While there is no magic pill or food that will guarantee you will never be affected by heart disease, you can make good choices about the foods you eat and lower your risk.

Here are some examples of foods that you should include in your heart-healthy diet:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Garlic
  • Legumes
  • Oily fish, such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Tea
  • Vegetable oil (choose corn, safflower, or soy)
  • Whole grain cereal products

Alcohol, when consumed in moderation, can reduce your risk of heart disease. “Moderation” means no more than two drinks a day if you are a man and one per day if you are a woman).

5 Diet Tips to Cut Heart Disease Risk

Your diet is a factor in your risk for developing heart disease. You can lower this risk by making a few simple changes. Don’t worry; eating healthy foods doesn’t mean that the food you eat will be boring or that you need to completely sacrifice taste for your health.

If you want to lower your risk of heart disease by changing your diet, start slowly. Incorporate one heart-healthy diet change at a time and get used to it before changing something else. Most people don’t like change at the best of times, and you want to start eating better permanently, not just for a few weeks, to improve your health.

Here are 5 simple diet tips that will cut your risk for heart disease:

1. Choose fish or poultry more often.

Yes, you can still have red meat. You need to get into the habit of trimming off visible fat and buying meat that has less marbling.

2. Take the skin off chicken before cooking it.

Chicken skin has a high fat content, and you can either buy it without skin or remove it yourself.

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Add fruit to your breakfast cereal or yogurt. Cut up carrots and celery sticks and have them in the refrigerator ready to eat. Put a bowl of fruit out in your kitchen so it is readily available when you are looking for a snack. Grate carrots and add them to soups and stews while cooking.

4. Read labels when grocery shopping and buy the lower-salt product.

We do need some salt in our diet to stay healthy, but most people consume way too much of it. Processed food can contain a lot of salt, so you will want to get in the habit of  buying the product with the lower amount of sodium in it.

5. Cut back on desserts and other sweets.

Dessert doesn’t necessarily need to be cakes and cookies. It can be a fresh fruit salad or some low-fat frozen yogurt. If you want to have something sweet occasionally, have a small portion and enjoy it. Then go back to making healthier choices most of the time.