A healthy heart is more than just good genes and exercise. The food you eat every day can have a substantial affect on the way your body protects itself. Heart disease is a very common health problem in the U.S., but there are small steps you can take to help reduce your risk.
Heart Healthy Food to Incorporate into your Diet
- Low-fat proteins: Fish, lean poultry, beans and lentils, soy products, low-fat dairy, egg whites
- Fruits and vegetables: Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day
- Whole grains: Whole wheat, oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain barley, bulgur
- Unsalted nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, sesame seeds
- Healthy oils: Olive oil, canola oil, walnut oil, grapeseed oil
How does sodium affect the heart?
High amounts of sodium in your diet can cause high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Limiting your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon of salt) per day is ideal, unless your physician recommends otherwise.
Limiting sodium consumption each day
- Eat fewer processed foods
- Pay attention to sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label
- Season your food with salt-free seasonings
- Compare different brands
- Remember “low calorie” foods often contain more sodium to enhance flavor