Heart Healthy Detox Diet

Maybe you've been overindulging in heavy foods during the holiday season. Maybe you're getting older and your doctor says you need to start making changes to your diet. Or maybe you have a family history of heart disease and want to do everything you can to protect yourself. Whatever your reasons, deciding to eat better food to protect your cardivascular health can be a major lifestyle change. By adding some new types of food to your diet and removing the more troublesome kinds of junk food, you can detoxify your diet and improve the health of your heart.

  1. Protein

    • Red meat tends to be high in saturated fat. Instead, opt for sources of protein that are lean, such as chicken, salmon or soy. Salmon, mackerel and herring contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help prevent blot clots. According to CNN, soy protein may help you lower your cholesterol. In recent years a number of very tasty soy meat substitutes have hit supermarket shelves, making cutting red meat from your diet a lot more enjoyable than it was in decades past. Be careful, however, to avoid soy products with a lot of added sodium, which can raise your blood pressure. Black beans are another great source of protein, and also are an excellent source of B vitamins, folate, omega-3 fatty acids and soluble fiber.

      For a protein-filled, heart healthy snack, have a handful of almonds or walnuts. Both kinds of nuts contain a host of heart-healthy compounds, such as omega-3 fatty acids, mono- and polyunsaturated fats and phytosterols.

    Carbohydrates

    • Oats are one of the best whole grains you can add to your heart healthy diet. Whole grain oats are a great source of soluble fiber (which can help lower your cholesterol), as well as beta glucan. Oats can be found in breads, cookies, oatmilk and of course, oatmeal. For a new twist, try steel-cut oats instead of rolled oats. In general, replace all the refined flour-based products in your diet with whole grains. This includes pasta, bread and cereals.

    Fruits and Vegetables

    • Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of your heart healthy detox diet. Eat plenty of dark leafy greens like kale, which contains folate and helps to keep homocysteine levels low. According to the American Heart Association, studies have linked elevated levels of homocysteine in the blood to a higher risk of heart disease.

      And believe it or not, the old adage that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" is completely true! Apples contain a phytochemical called quercetin, which acts as an anti-inflammatory that can help prevent blot clots. Try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and avoid fruits packed in heavy syrup or vegetables covered in creamy or cheesy sauces.

    Dairy

    • If you must drink milk, switch from whole to skim, or replace cow's milk with plant-derived milks made from soy, almond, hazelnut, hemp or oat. Avoid processed cheeses, and try to eat only reduced-fat cheeses.

    Fats, Oils and Salt

    • Reducing salt intake is a crucial step for protecting your heart. Stop adding salt to your food and boost the flavor with herbs and spices instead. Avoid trans fats, and cook with olive oil instead of butter. Less than 7 percent of your total daily calories should come from saturated fat.

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