February has been designated as American Heart Month. Currently, one out of every three deaths in the United States is due to heart disease or stroke. Cardiovascular disease is also one of the most expensive diseases that cost the U.S. 444 billion dollars in health care just in 2010 alone. The government has started a program called Million Hearts™. The goal of the program is to prevent 1 million heart attack and strokes in the U.S. over the next five years by adding more prevention programs and activities. Read below for 5 tips to include in your diet to help prevent heart disease:
1. Limit your intake of unhealthy fats and cholesterol. Limit the amount of saturated and trans fats in your diet. Do not choose any foods with “partially hydrogenated” on the label.
2. Eat low-fat protein sources. Some high fat protein sources to avoid are bacons, sausages, organ meats, and full-fat dairy products. Excellent protein sources to add into your diet are skim or low-fat milk, egg whites, fish, legumes, lean ground meats, and skinless poultry. Also, some higher fat protein sources with Omega-3’s such as salmon are good for your heart.
3. Eat your fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins, minerals, and substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Vegetables with creamy sauces, fried or breaded vegetables, and canned fruit in heavy syrup should be avoided. Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy, ideal sources to add to your diet.
4. Reduce the amount of sodium in your food. High amounts of sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which is one of the main risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Try to avoid adding table salt to your meal and limit the amount of prepared foods, such as frozen dinners. Choose reduced-sodium soups, prepared meals, and condiments.
5. Choose whole grains. Whole grains are an excellent source of fiber and can also help regulate blood pressure. The main grain products to avoid are white, refined flour products, doughnuts, cakes, and high-fat snack crackers. Excellent sources of whole grains include whole-wheat flour, whole-grain pasta, ground flaxseed, and high-fiber cereals.
Are any of these heart-healthy tips included in your lifestyle?
Assistance by Morgan Hoover