A healthy heart is important for your overall health. Your diet has a tremendous impact on your heart health.
If you’ve decided to change your diet to improve your heart health, or if your doctor has made that decision for you, you might think that you diet will now be drab and boring. That’s not necessarily true.
By making a few substitutions with smart food alternatives, you can still enjoy the food you eat while increasing your heart health. To get you started, here are some smart food alternatives for a healthy heart.
1. Select whole grains instead of other types
Whole grains are valuable sources of nutrients and fiber that help regulate your blood pressure and heart health. When choosing breads, select items with ingredients that say “whole” in front of the specific grain.
Other types of flour have had some of their nutrients removed. Choose whole grains for your sandwiches, cereals, and other grain items.
2. Eat fruits and vegetables instead of snack foods
Fruits and vegetables offer many nutrients that are essential to your overall health. They also contain some substances that may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Instead of reaching for high-fat, high-calorie snack foods, reach for a fruit or vegetable instead. Not only will your heart benefit, you’ll probably feel full longer too.
3. Choose low-fat meats, poultry and fish
By making simple changes in the meats you select, your diet can be more heart healthy. Instead of high-fat meats, choose lean cuts, poultry without the skin, egg whites and egg substitutes. Fish is another heart-healthy alternative to high-fat meats.
4. Use healthy alternatives instead of unhealthy fats and cholesterol
One of the most important changes you can make in your diet is limiting how much saturated and trans fats you eat. This can reduce your blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease. You can cut them out by not using butter, margarine and shortening in your cooking.
You can also choose healthy alternatives such as adding salsa or low-fat yogurt to your baked potato or a low-sugar fruit spread to your toast instead of high-fat margarine.
5. Choose low-fat dairy products
There is some evidence that eating dairy products can help protect your heart. When selecting dairy products to use in recipes, choose low-fat varieties such as skim milk or buttermilk.
Low-fat cheeses can replace many high-fat versions; there are low-fat yogurts, and you can also choose skim sherbets and low-fat ice creams instead of the traditional high-fat versions.
By choosing low-fat dairy products, you can protect your heart while keeping down your fat intake.
A healthy heart begins with a heart-healthy diet. By making these changes, you will be on your way to improving your heart health.
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