Using Diet To Maintain A Healthy Heart

2013-05-02 | |
Last updated: 2014-11-25

Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) state that there are over 600,000 deaths each year caused by heart disease, making it America’s number one killer. Coronary heart disease affects over 27 million people in the United States but some simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to our heart health. While a good diet and plenty exercise can truly save lives, this article focuses on diet for maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels.

What Makes Up A Healthy Diet?

Common sense tells us that a healthy diet means eating foods that have the nutrients that our bodies need while limiting the foods that have ingredients that are harmful to the body. But what foods are considered good for us? Which ones are bad? And what is the importance of diet in maintaining heart health?

A healthy diet is a balanced diet consisting of servings of foods from each of the different food groups. The major food groups are vegetables, fruits, (low-fat) dairy products, grains (whole grains), nuts and seeds, and lean sources of protein.

Vegetables And Fruits

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of any healthy diet because they are low in calories but rich in the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that our bodies require. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help fight off some of the damaging chemicals that our bodies produce. Fruits and egetables are essential to preventing a number of different diseases by protecting the body at a cellular level. They are also a great source of fiber, as are whole grains. Fiber is important for keeping the digestive system healthy but it also is very beneficial when it comes to lowering the cholesterol levels, making them important for preventing heart attacks and strokes.

Nuts And Fish

Nuts are somewhat high in calories and fat but they contain some special fats which are actually healthy for the heart. For those following a diet intended to maintain heart health, it is important to avoid what are called trans fats and saturated fats, but the kinds of fats found in nuts are something different that should be a part of a healthy diet. Another source of healthy fats is fish. Many types of fish are rich in good fats called omega-3 fatty acids that are very beneficial to heart health. Fish is also an excellent source of lean protein. That said, when eating fish, always consider that not all fish are harvested in a sustainable manner.

Food To Avoid

Eating to promote a strong heart also means avoiding certain types of foods that are not good for us. Avoiding the bad fats – trans fats, saturated fats – and excessive amounts of sugar and salt is a very important part of any diet to maintain a healthy heart. An easy way to avoid many of these harmful ingredients is to eat fresh foods and to avoid processed and prepackaged foods whenever possible.

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Category: Disease Prevention, General Health, Health Risks

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