If you’re concerned about your heart or looking to boost the amount of heart-healthy foods you eat, it can be difficult to know where to start. One of the best ways to keep your cardiovascular system healthy is to follow a nutritious diet that is low in foods and beverages linked to poor heart health and increased cardiovascular disease risk. You can enjoy so many delicious foods for your heart and overall health. When it comes to your heart, there are a few heart-healthy tips you can follow to help guide you toward better well-being.
- Decrease Your Saturated Fat Intake. Cut back on fatty meats and high-fat dairy products. This includes pizza, burgers, ice creams, and cheese. You don’t have to cut these foods out of your diet completely, but if you’re consistently eating them, try to lower them to a few times a week as a start.
- Cut Down on Salt. Before you buy, read the nutrition labels on the back of your packaged foods and choose an option that is lower in sodium. This tip is especially important for soups, canned vegetables, packaged meals, and processed snacks.
- Increase Your Fiber. Improving your heart health isn’t always about cutting back on your favorite foods. You could increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains.
If you’re not used to eating fiber-rich foods, navigating a new section of the grocery store can be overwhelming. Various vegetables and fruits fit into every taste and budget, including fresh, frozen, or canned options. Below is a small guideline you can follow if you don’t know where to start or what to look for.
Fresh Vegetables like tomatoes, cabbage, and carrots are rich in fiber, and leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach, and kale are great for your health. If you’re budget-conscious canned and frozen vegetables are great options. Before you buy, look for low-sodium options without added butter or sauces. You can up your fruit intake as well for additional fruit, either fresh, canned, or frozen.
Studies show that your diet can either increase or decrease your risk of developing heart disease. While diets high in ultra-processed foods and added sugar have been associated with increased risk, dietary patterns high in fiber-rich plant foods like fruits and vegetables, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil can support heart health. Whether you’re living with heart disease or simply trying to reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the future, making a few simple dietary changes can have a long-standing effect on your heart health.