You’d be surprised at the number of people who experience abnormal or irregular heartbeats at some points in their lives. Sadly, unlike in the movies, heart-related illnesses do not always give clear warning signs. Some symptoms of cardiovascular diseases do not even happen in the chest region, making it difficult to know if there are problems.
However, some of the noticeable symptoms to look out for may include chest pain, pain that spread to the left side of the body, dizziness, exhaustion, jaw pain, cold sweats, prolonged cough, swollen feet, and heart palpitations.
Although genetics do play a role, the risk of heart diseases can be reduced by incorporating simple eating habits into your daily routine. No matter your age, follow these seven expert-approved healthy diet tips for the sake of your heart.
Keep track of portion size
Control the portion of food you eat by using a small plate to eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetable. This trick can shape up your heart and keep weight gain away.
Of course, the number of servings you eat should depend on the specific diet plan you’ve set for yourself. In case you didn’t know, a serving size is a set amount of food defined by common measurements such as cups, ounces or pieces.
Eat more vegetables and fruits
Veggies contain a chock-full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They are low in calories and made up of components that prevent heart-related diseases like stroke, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Include sprouts, onions, carrots, beets, peas, cauliflower, and whatever healthy veggie in your diet. Just be sure to create a colorful, diverse plate of vegetables to get the full range of benefits and wide variety of vitamins for your heart.
Fruits are particularly good for those with cardiovascular diseases. Seek out fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, peaches, strawberries, pears, grapefruits, oranges, cherries, apples, and pomegranates. Keep fruits washed in a bowl in your kitchen for quick snacks. Ultimately, always go for recipes that include vegetables or fruits as the main ingredients.
Avoid unhealthy fats
Minimize the amount of saturated fat included in your diet by trimming fat off your meat or choosing lean meats with less than 10 percent fat. You can also add less butter, margarine and shortening when cooking and serving.
If you want to lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk stroke, heart attack and coronary artery disease, then limit unhealthy fats.
Pick low-fat protein foods
When picking lower fat foods, go for lean meat, skim milk, skinless poultry, fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy products. Other sources are beans, canola oil, peas, flaxseed, walnuts, lentils, and soybeans.
These foods also are excellent sources of protein and contain less fat and no cholesterol, making them good substitutes for meat.
Limit the sodium in your food
Consuming excessive amounts of sodium—as commonly found in packaged, canned, frozen, and fast food—can lead to high blood pressure, fluid retention, weight gain and bloat. To avoid excessive sodium consumption, opt for foods that are closest to their natural state (such as fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains). Limit the consumption of prepackaged foods that contain high levels of sodium, and if possible avoid adding additional salt to food before eating.
Limiting the amount of salt you add to cooked food is a good first step. However, much of the salt we consume are from processed foods. To best way to play safe is to eat fresh foods and making your own food with condiments that contain less sodium.
Plan your menu ahead
This is probably the most important factor in having a heart-healthy diet. By looking up recipes and planning out meals and snacks in advance, you can ensure that every ingredient you shop for keeps cardiovascular diseases at bay.
You should consider cooking with versatile ingredients while prioritizing fruits and vegetables. Go for low carbs, lean protein, low sodium, and low fat meals. Most importantly, make lists that include all the nutrients and have a plan!
Don’t be too hard on yourself
One of the most important things to note concerning eating healthy for your heart is to eat often to not allow yourself to get too hungry. When we get too hungry, it’s easy to binge on unhealthy food choices. To avoid this, keep ready-to-eat, pre-portioned healthy foods close by always.
Stock up on foods like crackers, granola bars, almonds, dried fruit, string cheese, and trail mix. These foods won’t disturb your heart-healthy diet plan—they ate low on protein and contain fiber.
Did you have a moment of inspiration while reading this article? We’d love to hear all about it in the comments section below!