SALT LAKE CITY – Over 600,000 Americans die each year from heart disease – which accounts for one in every four deaths – making it the leading cause of death in the United States according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Regardless of age, lifestyle or family medicine and medical stories, with healthier habits, it is surely a step in the right direction. Healthy need not be difficult or crazy. If you choose nutritious foods that taste great for you and find physical activities that you like, you can create healthy habits that work for you. Small changes add and can affect your health in the long run.
While you have probably heard that the recommendations do not smoke, you get 30 minutes of physical activity several days a week and handle health conditions such as high blood pressure or cholesterol play also play a major role in your long-term health ̵
Dietrich guidelines for Americans recommend that Americans consume less than 2300 mg of sodium each day as part of a healthy eating pattern. Excess sodium is associated with high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Although our bodies require sodium for various processes, too much from processed foods, restaurant foods and even homemade can raise blood pressure. Instead of tasting the food with salt, consider herbs and spices as an option to add flavor and variety to your meals. Many also act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
From garlic, basil and rosemary to cinnamon, ginger and turmeric, there are many herbs and spices that give you the taste you need to make your taste buds happy.  Fat has long been criticized in the American diet. This is because trans fats and too much saturated fats increase the risk of heart disease and increase bad cholesterol levels.
But not all fats are bad. Unsaturated fats, found in various foods such as olive oil, avocado, flaxseed, walnuts and fish, can reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten in measure.
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and have been shown to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides. They are considered to be an essential fatty acid, which means that our bodies cannot do them and we must get them from our diets. Fish is an excellent source of omega-3 (especially fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and albacore tuna). The American Heart Association suggests eating two servings of fish each week. Herbal sources for omega-3 contain mixed flaxseed and walnuts.
Selection of lean protein alternatives is a heart-soft choice because they are lower in saturated fats. Poultry and fish without skin, eggs, beans, lentils and nuts are excellent choices for lean protein. If you choose to eat red meat, look for smoother cuts, such as round, loin or flax steaks and toast.
Boil your protein in healthy ways without the addition of saturated and trans fats. For example, instead of frying your chicken, try baking or roasting it. Trimming visible fat before cooking and emptying any fat after cooking can also help. You can even take it one step further and go meat-free one day a week.
Most people will not claim that fruits and vegetables are good for you. But the recommendation to include more plants in your diet extends to more than just fruits and vegetables; nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains also apply here. Herbal foods are good sources of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber.
In addition to keeping your heart healthy, the nutrients in plants can help maintain many functions in the body, such as cell formation, transporting oxygen through the blood, the thyroid regulating and keeping your immune system healthy. In particular, dietary fiber can improve cholesterol levels while lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity and type 2 diabetes.
At the meal, half of your plate of fruit and vegetables fills a good place to start, then choose a whole grain to add to your meal. It doesn't have to be the same boring thing every meal. You can mix it up and choose a variety of herbal foods included in your diet every day.
Just as fats were removed in the 90s, sugar is now food demonized in our diet. But like all fats, not all sugars are the same. There are natural sugars and added sugars. Natural sugars are naturally occurring in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Supplied sugars are sugars and syrups added to food during the preparation – whether you are at the factory or at home.
Natural sugars are often found in foods with beneficial nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Supplied sugars do not provide nutritional benefits to your diet and add extra calories that can lead to weight gain, which can exacerbate heart health. Added sugars include (but not limited to) white sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, high fructose corn syrup and maple syrup.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugar in our diets to about 6 teaspoons a day for women and about 9 teaspoons a day for men. Although you should limit the amount of added sugars you eat, you do not need to get rid of it altogether. Small amounts of sugar can be used to supplement and enhance the taste of nutritious foods in your diet such as oatmeal or regular Greek yogurt. These small amounts are added to whole foods are healthier than eating nutritious, sweeteners.
Through meal planning and cooking at home, you can make your kitchen smart. Choosing a generally healthy diet that focuses on a variety of foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats is a safe way to eat yourself into a healthier heart.
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