It's not a secret that what we eat impacts our health and may increase heart disease risk. Consuming high-fat, high-salt, high-sugar, or processed foods can directly contribute to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. As this plaque blocks and constricts blood flow throughout your body, the result is a dramatically higher risk for heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Which foods are best to put into your body, and how you can make diet and lifestyle changes for the better? Take these pointers from Cardiovascular Institute of the South for developing a heart-healthy meal plan!
How Can a Poor Diet Increase Your Heart Disease Risk?
First, let’s understand the why behind your food choices. Choosing healthy foods for your meals can help you prevent cardiovascular disease, or heart disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the main cause of death in the United States, claiming approximately 659,000 lives each year. If your diet regularly contains junk food and fast food, you are putting yourself at risk for premature heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure among other health concerns. Red meats, soda, and sugary baked goods are laden with salt, fat, and chemicals that wreak havoc on your body. This is why choosing leaner, nutrient-rich ingredients is vital to your health!
Heart-Healthy Meal Planning
One of the key ways to improve your heart health through diet is by limiting your fat and salt intake. It should come as no surprise that sugary drinks and processed foods do not make the list of heart-healthy ingredients. When incorporating fat into your meals, search for complex, healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and omega-3 fatty-acid-rich fish. Recipes that are vegetable dense are especially great options. When choosing protein, steer away from cheese and red meats. Instead, replace them with leaner options like chicken, turkey, salmon, and tuna. Opt for lower-fat dairy products, and get additional protein from heart-healthy nuts like almonds and cashews. Always reach for water, unsweetened beverages, and fresh meats and produce when possible.
Balanced meals are essential parts of your day that can help to lower your heart disease risk. These provide you with the energy you need to carry out your daily tasks. And, the foods you choose can aid in weight loss, lower your heart disease and cancer risks, and manage chronic health conditions like diabetes. Need pointers for serving a healthy plate? Here are your building blocks. Half of your plate should be made up of fruits, especially berries, and fresh or roasted vegetables. A quarter of your plate should consist of protein, like low-fat dairy, nuts, or lean meat. And finally, the last quarter of your plate should include whole grains that keep you feeling satisfied throughout the day. Pair healthy nutrition with weight management, physical exercise, and abstinence from cigarettes for even more heart disease prevention!
Promote a Healthy Heart With Cardiovascular Institute of the South
Put these prevention methods in place today to lower your heart disease risk! For at-risk patients or those recovering from a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, find treatment and support from the Cardiovascular Institute of the South. Our mission is to provide our patients with the best possible cardiovascular care. Find your closest clinic today to schedule an appointment, or request an appointment online. Let our physicians help you discover lifestyle changes and treatments to help you maintain a healthy heart!