A well-balanced meal plan can also equal a healthy heart diet for most individuals. It is not always an easy matter to change those dietary habits, but for optimal health and a happy cardiovascular system, it is very important that you discover some of the principles that will help you select the foods that are the best choices for a stronger and healthier cardiovascular system.
For a healthy heart, there are a number of foods you can eat that will help you control those blood cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol counts mean that you will be less likely to suffer from a heart attack.
Low cholesterol foods will help you prevent the development of clogged arteries and heart disease and these heart-healthy food choices can make it less likely that you will have a stroke.
Balancing your Foods
For a truly healthy heart diet, your meals should consist of at least 50% vegetables and less than 10% fat. Add 20-25% lean protein and complete your meal with some complex carbohydrates. Make sure that your diet consists of legumes, lentils, whole grains, fruits, veggies, soy products and a small number of lean meats and seafood.
This is a balanced meal plan that will help you keep your weight in check and still provide your body with all the nutrition it needs for optimal health.
While you do not have to go the vegan or vegetarian route you should still limit your consumption of meats and meat products. This does not mean that you have to give up the meats that you enjoy but choose these foods wisely.
Eat meat 2-4 times a week instead of every day and use more lean beef products, poultry, and seafood instead of that heavily marbled red meat. Just by limiting certain meats you can drastically reduce the number of saturated fats and cholesterol in your diet.
Eggs are Easy
Egg whites are preferred to whole eggs when you are creating a dietary program designed to boost the health of your heart and cardiovascular system. Omelets made with veggies and egg whites can be very flavorful and these are a good choice for people who are concerned with having a healthier heart.
Fruits and Veggies Help your Heart To Be Strong
There are a number of vitamins, minerals and other heart-healthy nutrients that you need to include in your diet. Many of these nutrients are found in abundance in fruits and vegetables alone. The wide variety of vegetables and fruits add a boost to your immune system, help support a stronger cardiovascular system and are naturally low in calories.
When you want to limit unhealthy fats and high cholesterol counts then these are the food groups to use. The antioxidants and other phytochemicals that are found in vegetables and fresh fruits can help detoxify your body, lower your blood pressure and promote a strong, healthy heart.
Dietary Supplements Support a Healthier Heart
You should be able to get the majority of your vitamins and minerals in your daily diet, but supplements can also be useful. One of these very important nutritional supplements is known as Ubiquinone. You might recognize it by its more common name-CoQ10, or Coenzyme 10.
Researchers in many countries have studied this nutrient and they agree that CoQ10 can have very positive effects on the heart. It can improve high blood pressure numbers, strengthen blood vessels, and CoQ10 has even been shown to help correct certain arrhythmias that affect the heart.
There are a number of food products that contain CoQ10 such as organ meats, bean, dairy products, veggies and fruits. Although this nutritional supplement is highly concentrated only in organ meats your body can naturally synthesize this compound if you provide it with a heart-healthy diet.
Fight Fat with Fat
You need to realize that fat is important to your body, and there is no reason to treat all fats as your enemies. Saturated fat in highly marbled meats, cheese, whole milk, and cream is the more dangerous type of fat that you need to limit in your diet. This fat can block your arteries and weaken your heart.
You also need to be aware that saturated fats are contained in many whipped toppings, creamers, bakery items and vegetable oils. When reading labels that contain fats look for the products that are higher in unsaturated fats as these types of fats can lower your cholesterol levels.
Tips for a Heart Friendly Diet
Lean meats, poultry without skin and oily fish are excellent protein choices for a heart-healthy diet. Remove the skin prior to cooking almost all meat products to lower fat and cholesterol.
Use skim milk or 2% milk; low-fat cheese; reduced fat yogurt and other dairy products that are low in both fats and cholesterol.
You can still enjoy eggs but to be safe you should not eat more than 3-4 whole eggs per week. Farm fresh eggs are healthier than the ones that are mass produced at poultry plants.
Instead of frying foods, you should try alternative cooking methods such as roasting, poaching, baking, grilling, and broiling.
Steam your veggies or eat them raw if you want your heart to receive the maximum benefits from these foods.
Lemon juice, herbs, salt substitutes, and even a low sodium soy sauce can be used for seasoning when you want to add flavor and taste to those veggies, meats and other heart-healthy diet dishes. Too much salt is bad for your heart and blood pressure so keep this in mind as you season your foods wisely.
Walnuts, almonds and sunflower seeds are good choices for a heart-healthy diet. Although you may have to eliminate some of your other fat sources to accommodate these nuts in your meal plans just a few ounces of walnuts or almonds can help you lower your blood cholesterol by 8-15%.
It is possible to enjoy a flavorful, satisfying and varied choice of foods when you begin following a healthy heart diet. The difference that this type of diet can make in your life is invaluable and there is no better time to start making this change than right now.