Diet tips for a healthy heart

One study of more than 42,000 healthy women found that those who ate a diet that emphasized vegetables, lean meats, grains, and low-fat dairy were 31% less likely to die in the next 6 years than women with unhealthy diets.

So, if you want to improve your heart health, improve your diet and eating habits!

Don’t diet

Both crash diets and diets that rule out one type of food — whether it’s carbs or fat – won’t help you to either improve your heart health or lose weight. Focus on lean meats, vegetables, and whole grains to get long-term benefits both for your heart and your waistline.

Stop overeating

Studies have found that more people have heart attacks after big meals.

Eat less salt

Do not eat more than a teaspoon of salt per day, since both sea and table salt increase your blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, you should eat even less.
And keep in mind that up to 75% of the salt you eat comes from processed foods such as soups and frozen meals, so if food comes in a can or a box, check the sodium content.

Avoid caffeine

If you have abnormal heartbeat, caffeine and other stimulants can trigger symptoms.

Drink in moderation

Studies show that drinking modest amounts of alcohol, not just wine, has heart benefits, but more than one drink a day for women or two for men increases your risk for heart problems – it drives up blood pressure and can trigger irregular heartbeats in people with abnormal heartbeat.

Choose meats wisely

Choose pork tenderloin, turkey, or chicken breast instead of red meat which is usually high in saturated fat, and saturated fat is bad for your heart.
When you eat red meat choose the leanest cuts, such as sirloin, flank, rump roast, and tenderloin, and always cut off the fat from them.

Eat more fish

Eat grill or roast fish that is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, trout, and sardines.

Eat whole grains

Whole grains help control your blood sugar, reducing your risk of diabetes by 20% to 30% (diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease). So eat whole wheat breads, brown rice, wild rice, oatmeal, cornmeal, barley, and rye.

Eat less deli

Deli meats are often packed with salts, nitrates, and preservatives that can be bad for your heart. Instead, eat whole chicken breasts or in-house roasted turkey.

Eat more fiber

Fiber absorbs fat during digestion and reduces swelling in your arteries. Fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans are all good sources of fiber.

Watch out for foods with vitamin K

If you’re taking a medicine against blood clotting like Coumadin (warfarin) avoid vitamin K since it can reduce the drug’s effectiveness.
Veggies with vitamin K include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and turnip greens. So if you want to add any of these foods to your diet, talk to your doctor first. You may be able to introduce small amounts slowly.

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