10 Heart-Smart Dietary Habits
By Jenni Frankenberg Veal
1. Avoid partially hydrogenated oil.
Partially hydrogenated oil, also called trans fat, raises “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and lowers “good” (HDL) cholesterol.
2. Try soy.
Soy protein is lower in fat and higher in fiber than many meat choices. Soy sources include soybeans, soy nuts, soy milk, soy flour, energy bars, fortified cereal, tempeh and tofu.
3. Eat greens.
Spinach, kale, Swiss chard, broccoli and collard greens are all high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that may protect against heart disease.
4. Select whole grains.
Whole grains are good sources of fiber and other nutrients that play a role in regulating blood pressure and heart health.
5. Shake the salt habit.
According to the Mayo Clinic, sodium intake should be less than 2,300mg per day for healthy adults and less than 1,500mg per day for anyone 50 or older and those with high blood pressure.
6. Eat fish twice a week.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines contain omega-3s, which are believed to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by lowering the levels of triglycerides in the body.
7. Eat your oatmeal.
A half-cup serving of oatmeal contains about 130 calories and 5 grams of hearthealthy fiber that helps to lower cholesterol and keep body weight at a healthy level.
8. Pop some blueberries.
Research conducted by the USDA shows that compounds in the skins of blueberries may work to reduce the buildup of “bad” LDL cholesterol in artery walls.
9. Eat lean protein.
According to the Mayo Clinic, chicken, fish and vegetable proteins are more heart-healthy than red meats (beef, pork and lamb), which contain more saturated fat and cholesterol.
10. Feed your body regularly.
Skipping meals often leads to overeating. For some, eating five to six minimeals may help keep cravings in check, help control blood sugars and regulate metabolism.