Eating a heart-healthy diet and living a healthy lifestyle are two ways you can help prevent the development of hypertension, high cholesterol or heart disease.
What is a heart-healthy diet?
A heart-healthy diet is composed of plenty fruits, vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates, mono- and polyunsaturated fats, and is low in sodium. Choose nutrient-dense foods that are not processed, such as whole grains and produce.
Focus on healthy fats such as canola or olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, nuts and seeds rather than saturated fats like whole milk, dairy products or butter. Healthy fats can help improve cholesterol levels.
Watch out for foods made with added salt, such as packaged foods like crackers, chips, pretzels and fast food. A high salt diet may lead to hypertension.
The American Heart Association recommends consuming between 1,500-2,300 mg of sodium daily. To keep your salt intake in check, try using herbs and spices instead of salt when cooking. Consider removing the salt shaker from the dinner table as well.
Don’t forget to be physically active. Aim for at least 30 minutes of activity daily, such as walking or jogging.
Short on time? Break up your exercise into 10-minute increments throughout the day. Get the family involved, and make exercise part of your activities at home. Being active on a regular basis can help keep your weight stable and improve your heart health.
Talk to your primary care provider about other ways you can live a heart-healthy lifestyle.