If you have a family history of heart disease, changing your eating habits can help stave off serious heart problems. We all know that there are foods we should avoid in order to keep our hearts healthy, but it can be incredibly difficult to change our eating habits. Whether you’re currently suffering with heart disease or can see it coming down the road, here are five tips to creating your own, heart-healthy diet:
Do you know how much meat constitutes a portion? What about fruits and vegetables? If you use an average-sized dinner plate, and fill it up at each meal, you’re eating too much . One of the easiest ways to start controlling your portion size is to change the size of your plate. Start using a salad plate instead of your dinner plate. Not only will a full salad plate contain closer-to-correct portion sizes, but looking at a full plate will trick your mind into believing that you’re eating more than you are.
2.Turn it Green
One of the best things that you can do for your heart is to limit the amount of meat that you consume. Instead, look for recipes that are built around a fruit or vegetable. Vegetables and fruits are naturally low in calories and high in fiber; both are perfect for your new heart-healthy diet. If you need to add fruits and vegetables into your diet, make sure that they’re fresh or frozen. For example, a whole apple is great as a snack; a piece of apple pie is not. To begin adding more green stuff to your diet, aim to have at least one serving with each meal and build from there.
3.No More White
The easiest way to avoid bad carbs is to simply keep anything white off of your plate. This means no more white bread, white pasta, white rice or things made with white flour. Instead, choose whole-grain options where they’re available. You can easily find whole-wheat pasta in your grocery store, along with whole-grain bread, brown rice and even whole-wheat flour. When choosing potatoes, pick out a few lovely yams; they’re great both baked and mashed.
4.Trim the Fat
If you follow a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet, you should limit your intake of saturated fat to 14 grams; less if possible. Limit trans fats to two grams or less per day. The easiest way to limit the amount of fat that you eat is to trim your meat. Additionally, cook with olive oil instead of butter, top your baked potato with salsa instead of butter and sour cream, and become an avid label reader. By making these few simple changes, you’ll drastically reduce the amount of fat you’re currently consuming.
5.Skip the Salt
If you’re addicted to salt, it’s time to shake the habit. Your total intake of salt, assuming that you’re healthy, should be less than a teaspoon a day; including the salt that’s already in your food. If you eat prepared foods, look for low-sodium options. If you add handfuls of salt to your dinner plate, substitute your salt with with herbs and spices. Avoid adding salt to your meals as you’re cooking, or look for salt substitutes that you can use instead.
By knowing how to eat properly, you’re going a long way in ensuring that your diet is heart-healthy. Limit your portion sizes, choose lean meats and look for whole-grain options. By following these simple rules, you’ll not only be doing your heart a favor, but you just may whittle away your waistline at the same time.
John Martin writes for health blogs. If you want to check on your heart health, look into blood work spots in Oakland.