Eating healthy foods is very important for your heart health.
How to make heart-healthy food choices? Heart researchers provide some tips to help you.
First, you need to eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2½ to 3 cups of vegetables every day.
Fruits and vegetables are high in vitamins, dietary fibers, minerals and other essential nutrients for the body.
You should not use fruit juice to replace whole fruits, according to recent research.
This is because fruit juice is lack of dietary fiber, which can help prevent type 2 diabetes, a chronic condition related to heart disease.
Whole fruits also could make you feel fuller and consume less calories. This will help you keep a healthy body weight and avoid obesity, which is a big risk factor of heart disease.
Second, you should eat more seafoods, like fatty fish that is rich in omega-3 fatty acid.
Recent research shows that eating fish twice a week can help protect your heart. American Heart Association recommends people eat two 3.5-ounce servings of non-fried fish, or about ¾ cup of flaked fish every week.
The fish options include salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines or albacore tuna, which are all high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating these fish can help reduce risk of heart failure, coronary heart disease, cardiac arrest and the most common type of stroke.
However, when eating fish, you need to pay attention to mercury in fish.
Mercury is found in most seafood but is prevalent in large fish such as shark, swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, bigeye tuna, marlin and orange roughy.
Recent studies find that mercury contamination may be associated with serious neurological problems in newborns.
If you are pregnant, you should talk with your doctor about your diet.
Third, cut back foods high in saturated fat and trans-fat.
The foods include cheese, butter, ice cream processed and red meats, cakes, cookies, pastries, muffins, pies, and doughnuts.
Some plant-based fats like coconut and palm oil are also rich in saturated fat.
One recent study published in the British Medical Journal shows that saturated fat, regardless the type, is linked to higher risk of heart disease.
Instead, use foods with unsaturated fats to replace them. Such foods include soybean oil, corn oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds and fish.
The researchers of the study found that when people used unsaturated fats to reduce saturated fats, the heart disease risk dropped more than 10%.
Fourth, read and compare food labels.
Food labels provide important information of the nutrients. You should pay attention to the amounts of calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, carb, and sodium.
Low intake of these things can help reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure, all of which are related to high heart disease risk.
Remember that you need to multiply the calories and fat by the number of servings you’re going to eat.
Fifth, drink less sugary beverages like soda and juice with added sugar.
Six, limit your alcohol drinking.
Several studies have shown that alcohol drinking may harm your heart health. For example, researchers find that the more alcohol you drink, the higher your heart rate gets.
Alcohol abuse may increase risk of heart failure, heart attack, and atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder.
Experts suggest limit intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men.
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