Giving up foods that are rich in cholesterol and saturated fats is tough, but if you have developed heart problems, it is a requirement for you to stay healthy. Eating healthily seems like a penalty, but with practice, you can learn to enjoy a heart-healthy diet. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can learn which foods to avoid and the foods that you need to eat more of each day. Soon, your new diet will be part of your everyday life.
Limit the Fat in Your Diet
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most important thing you can do to maintain your heart health is to limit your saturated and trans fat intake. Saturated and trans fats raise your cholesterol level, making you a greater candidate for coronary artery disease. You will find these dangerous fats in butter, margarine and cooking oil, so it is important to find low-fat substitutes for these products. Use salsa or low-fat sour cream on your baked potato. If you are out to dinner, ask them to put the toppings on the side, so you can determine what is on the potato. Cook with olive oil or canola oil if you do need to use oil for your foods. Check the labels carefully when you shop. If you see "partially hydrogenated" on the label, it probably means it contains trans fats, even though it boasts "reduced fat".
Low-fat protein is your best source of protein while on your heart-healthy diet. Fish, poultry, low-fat dairy products and egg substitutes are great sources of low-fat protein. Lentils, peas and beans are excellent sources of protein. They have little fat, depending on what you cook in them, and they have no cholesterol. Try a soy burger instead of a hamburger.
Fruits and Vegetables
Include more fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. They are low in calories, high in fiber, and excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. According to the American Heart Association, fruits and vegetables contain substances found in plants that may actually help prevent cardiovascular disease. Eat carrots, cauliflower and broccoli for snacks when you are hungry. If you keep them in your refrigerator cut up and ready for you, you will more than likely grab them instead of a cookie or brownie. Avoid fried or breaded vegetables; they are never as healthy as fresh vegetables that are steamed or microwaved. Avoid canned fruits, too, since they are usually soaked in syrup. You will find that eating healthier is not as hard as it seems, and maybe the entire family will be healthy when you change your eating habits.
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