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The Benefits of a Heart-Healthy Diet

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women with the most common being coronary heart disease (CHD), which kills over 370,000 people annually. When it comes to controlling heart disease, one of the most important things you can do is change your eating habits. Whether you constantly eat unhealthy foods or just want to fine-tune your diet and eating habits, eating a heart-healthy diet could be what works for you.

Portion Sizes

How much you eat at each sitting is just as important as what you put in your body. Loading up your plate might look like a good idea, but you will end up feeling stuffed and taking in more calories than you should. To control your portion size, use a smaller plate or bowl, or eat larger portions of low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods and smaller portions of high-calorie, high-sodium foods. Using this strategy can help control your eating habits as well as lead to more heart-friendly meals.

Fruits and Veggies

Eating fruits and vegetables is a great way to make sure you are getting your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Not only are some fruits and vegetables low in calories and rich in dietary fibers, but they also contain substances that can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Increasing your intake in fruits and vegetables can help you cut back on higher calorie foods like meats, cheese, and snack foods.

Cut Unhealthy Fats

Limiting the amount of saturated and trans fats you eat every single day is an important step to help reduce your blood cholesterol and help lower your risk of coronary artery disease. Individuals with high blood cholesterol levels can have a buildup of plaques in their arteries, often referred to as atherosclerosis, that can increase their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. It is suggested that no one eats more than 11-13g of saturated fat if you follow a 2,000 calorie a day diet, and trans fats should be avoided altogether.

Plan Ahead

Creating daily menus and selecting meals and snacks that have an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins can not only help curb bad eating habits, but it can also help make your meals more heart healthy. When eating more heart-healthy foods, it is important to vary your meals so that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs. Creating daily menus will also help when it comes time to go to the grocery store. With a well-developed meal plan, you’ll be less tempted by all of the unhealthy snacks and treats!

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