The heart-wise diet is a balanced way of eating that improves heart health. When executed properly, the diet can help to control blood pressure, improve lipid levels, and promote safe weight loss.
Fat and Cholesterol
The heart-wise diet emphasizes healthy unsaturated fats over saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are found in oils, nuts, seeds, fish, and avocado. Foods that are high in saturated fats also contain high amounts of cholesterol; examples include red meat, the fat and skin on chicken and turkey, and full-fat dairy products. Trans fats are also avoided and are found artificially in baked and fried foods and naturally in foods high in saturated fat.
Sodium is found in table salt but is also hidden in much of our food supply. A heart-wise diet reduces sodium by avoiding added salt and high-salt foods like frozen and processed foods, canned goods, and condiments. The American Heart Association recommends a sodium intake of no more than 1,500 mg per day.
Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains are all major sources of fiber. Increasing your intake from these food groups may improve cholesterol levels. Aim for a variety of colors when selecting fruits and vegetables. Choose whole-wheat bread, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, and oatmeal in place of their refined counterparts.
- Photo Credit Heartbeat image by JASON WINTER from Fotolia.com
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