Creating a Heart Healthy Diet Plan

Heart disease runs in my family. In fact, based on the medical research, it runs in a lot of families. Some of the things I have learned over the years are that you can be in control and take preventative measures against heart disease. Many of the contributing factors of heart disease can be minimized with a heart healthy diet and a little daily exercise. Here are a few simple tips which will allow you to add foods to your daily diet that have been proven to help prevent heart disease.

1.) Probably the easiest step to start with is cutting certain foods out of your diet. This doesn’t mean you can no longer eat potato chips or other tasty snacks, it only means you have to become a little more educated about the TYPES of snacks you eat. Stay away from foods high in fat and cholesterol by checking the nutritional values on the labels. Many food producers today have come out with foods that are significantly lower in cholesterol, salt, and fat and a quick comparison of labels will help you find those. Try to use less butter and margarine and replace your cooking oil with canola or olive oil.

2.) Try to eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some of the best sources for this are fish like salmon and tuna. Now if you are like me (and my children) you might not care much for fish! I have found a few recipes for lighter dishes like tuna salad, which my family enjoys. Since you probably don’t want to eat tuna salad every day, here are a few other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Almonds are a great choice and very versatile. Stay away from the salted or sweetened almonds. Try almond slivers tossed into a salad! There are also a few fish oil supplements on the market that can provide these essential omega-3’s in tablet form. I take a tablet with my daily vitamin.

3.) Fruits and vegetables should already be a major part of your healthy diet, but they are especially important for a healthy heart! Try to eat a variety of these, as each one can provide different benefits. For example, oranges are high in vitamin C which helps bolster the immune system and is an excellent anti-oxidant. Tomatoes and carrots contain magnesium and potassium which can help lower blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are probably the easiest to implement into your daily diet since they can be used as a replacement for many unhealthy snack foods! My family enjoys fresh cut fruits like apple slices and equally enjoy carrot sticks and celery sticks for a snack.

There are many ways to implement the above foods into your diet. A little research on nutritional labels and a little creativity is all it takes to start eating for a healthy heart!

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