Heart Healthy Diet Choices – Guest Post

Hey NeverEver’s!

Welcome to Wednesday! Its Hump Day and I got my coffee, my computer and work…what more could I ask for? Oh and my shakeology but I already drank that. However, I do have a awesome guest post today. It is from HealthLine. I think of their page like WebMD just more friendly and less death notices. Anyways, they are going to be talking about the Heart so make sure to read up! The heart is an extremely important part of your body ^_^.

Heart Healthy Diet Choices

While many factors affect heart disease, the FDA recommends eating foods that are high in fiber and low in fat, sodium and cholesterol to reduce the risk of this disease. Although you might know that eating the right foods can decrease your heart disease risk, it’s often tough to change your eating habits. Whether you’ve been eating bad for years, or you simply want to fine-tune your diet, here are some heart-healthy diet tips. Once you know which foods to eat more or less of, you’ll be on your way toward a heart-healthy diet plan.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables, Avoid Fats
Vegetables and fruits are great sources of vitamins,dietary fiber and minerals. They contain substances found in plants that may help prevent cardiovascular disease, as well as temper those high-fat cravings. Fruits and vegetables don’t have any fat in them.  Limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat is an important step to reduce your blood cholesterol and lower your risk of coronary artery disease. A high blood cholesterol level can lead to a buildup of plaques in your arteries, called atherosclerosis, which can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.  Make sure you choose dishes that have vegetables or fruits as the main ingredient, such as salads and stir-fry. 
When you do use fats, choose monounsaturated fats, such as canola or olive oils. Polyunsaturated fats, found in nuts and seeds, also are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. When used in place of saturated fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats may help lower your total blood cholesterol. But moderation is essential. All types of fat are high in calories.
Protein and Sodium
Eating a lot of sodium can contribute to high blood pressure, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Reducing salt in the diet is a good heart-healthy choice. Healthy adults should have no more than 2,300 milligrams (mg) of sodium a day, which is about a teaspoon. Those 51 or older, African-Americans, and people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should have no more than 1,500 mg of sodium a day.  Be wary of foods that claim to be lower in sodium because they are seasoned with sea salt instead of regular table salt. Sea salt has the same nutritional value as regular salt.
While you lower your sodium intake, beef up your protein intake.  Eggs, lean meat, low-fat dairy, poultry and fish are some of your best sources of protein. Certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well, which can lower blood fats called triglycerides. You’ll find the highest amounts of omega-3 fatty acids in cold-water fish, such as herring, mackerel and salmon, as well as walnuts, flaxseed and soybeans.
Whole Grains
Whole grains are fantastic sources of fiber and other nutrients that regulate blood pressure and heart health. Avoid refined grain products such as processed foods.  Rather, try some barley or quinoa in your diet. Another easy way to add whole grains to your diet is ground flaxseed. Flaxseeds are small brown seeds that are high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower your total blood cholesterol.
Eat Smaller, Plan Ahead and Occasionally Treat Yourself
Quantity is just as important as what you eat. Eating until you pop can lead to eating more calories, fat and cholesterol than you should. Portions served in restaurants are often more than anyone needs. Keep track of the number of servings you eat. Eating more of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and less of high-calorie, high-sodium foods, such as refined, processed or fast foods, can shape up your diet as well as your heart and waistline.
Design daily menus for yourself.  Planning helps you stay on track, and when you are selecting foods for each meal and snack, emphasize fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose lean protein sources and limit high-fat and salty foods. Variety also makes your meals and snacks more interesting.
Finally, allow yourself the occasional treat. A handful of potato chips or a candy bar won’t ruin your heart-healthy diet. But don’t let it turn into a habit. What’s important is that you eat healthy foods most of the time.
Integrate these diet tips into your life, and you’ll continue to find that heart-healthy eating is both achievable and fun. With planning and a few simple substitutions, you can keep your heart healthy for a lifetime.

David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in GQ, National Geographic, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, USA Today, among others, and he has appeared on The Today Show, the CBS Morning Show and Paul Harvey Radio. David is a specialist at consumer technology, health and fitness, and he also owns a PR firm and a consulting company where he and his staff focus on these industries. He is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visithttp://www.healthline.com/.

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